AGO 92-9.

Case Date:October 09, 1992
Colorado Attorney General Opinions 1992. AGO 92-9. October 9, 1992Department of Law Attorney General Opinion FORMAL OPINION of GALE A. NORTON Attorney General Opinion No. 92-9 AG Alpha No. RG BA AGATP Steven V. Berson Executive Director Department of Regulatory Agencies 1560 Broadway, Suite 1550 Denver, Colorado 80202 RE: Scope of statutory authority of the Commissioner of the Division of Financial Services to grant a state credit union charter for communities with populations which exceed twenty-five thousandDear Mr. Berson: This responds to your September 18, 1992 letter requesting an interpretation of section 11-30-103(2), C.R.S. (1992). Financial Services Commissioner David Paul (hereinafter "Commissioner Paul") has conditionally approved an application by Lowry Federal Credit Union (hereinafter "Lowry") to convert from a federally-chartered to a state-chartered credit union with a field of membership consisting of its current membership and the City of Aurora, Colorado, with some exclusions.**BFN** The population of the City of Aurora is 222,000, according to 1990 Census information. **EFN** You have inquired whether section 11-30-103(2) permits such a state charter to be issued. This opinion reflects an analysis of the statutory and other legal questions you have raised. As we discuss below, setting aside public policy and business concerns, this opinion relies on relevant statutory language, case law and legislative history. Our opinion was not based on, nor does it take a position concerning, the desirability of community based credit unions at issue here. QUESTIONS PRESENTED AND CONCLUSIONS Your request for an Attorney General's opinion presents the following questions: Do the provisions of section 11-30-103(2), C.R.S. (1992) permit a credit union to be granted a state charter if the field of membership is the residents of the City of Aurora, Colorado, with the specific exclusions ordered by Commissioner Paul? No. If section 11-30-103(2), C.R.S. (1992) permits a credit union with the field of membership as approved by Commissioner Paul, does the Banking Board have jurisdiction pursuant to state law to seek injunctive relief against Lowry to prohibit it from operating as a bank without a charter? This question is conditioned upon an affirmative answer to Question No. 1. Since this opinion has answered Question No. 1 in the negative, a response to this question is unnecessary. ANALYSIS Section 11-30-103(2), C.R.S. (1992), provides, in pertinent part: (2) Credit union organization and membership, other than those of a central credit union, shall be limited to groups having a common bond of employment or association or groups which reside within a well-defined neighborhood, community, or rural district having a population of no more than twenty-five thousand or as otherwise authorized by the commissioner.... The language of section 11-30-103(2) describes two types of groups which qualify for credit union membership: (1) groups having a common bond of employment and association; or (2) groups which reside within a well-defined neighborhood, community or rural district having a population of no more than 25,000 or as otherwise authorized by the commissioner. A well-established canon of statutory construction is that a statute is passed as a whole, not in parts or sections, and is guided by a general purpose and intent. Each part or section should be construed in connection with every other part or section to produce a harmonious whole. See Peoples Bank v. Banking Board, 436 P.2d 681 (Colo. 1968); Bynum v. Kautzky, 784 P.2d 735 (Colo. 1988). The inquiry in this matter must focus on the meaning of the words "... having a population of twenty-five thousand or as otherwise authorized by the commissioner." It is clear that section 11-30-103(2) gives the Financial Services Commissioner discretion to approve a field of membership for a geographic community which exceeds 25,000 in population. The next question is whether the commissioner's authority is unlimited. If the phrase "or as otherwise authorized by the commissioner" is interpreted to give the commissioner authority to approve neighborhoods, communities and rural districts of any population size whatsoever for credit union membership, then the preceding phrase, "having a population of no more than twenty-five thousand," is superfluous and meaningless. A statute should be construed so that effect is given to all its provisions...

To continue reading