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PENNSYLVANIA SAVINGS ASSOCIATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/06/87)

decided: April 6, 1987.

PENNSYLVANIA SAVINGS ASSOCIATION, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF BANKING, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Banking in case of In Re: Application of St. Edmond's Savings and Loan Association for a Letter of Authority to establish a branch at 1901 E. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Docket No. 85-007.

COUNSEL

C. Lawrence Rutstein, with him, David R. Rosenfeld and Susan Greenspun, Bluestein, Rutstein & Mirarchi, P.C., for petitioner.

Stephen F. J. Martin, Assistant Counsel, with him, Hugh A. Benson, Assistant Counsel, and Henry G. Barr, General Counsel, for respondent.

Gerald Gornish, with him, Mitchell E. Panzer, Of Counsel: Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, for intervenor, St. Edmond's Savings & Loan Association.

Judges Doyle and Barry, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 176]

Pennsylvania Savings Association (PSA), Petitioner, appeals here from an order and adjudication of the Department of Banking (Department) approving the application of St. Edmond's Savings & Loan Association (St. Edmond's) for a Letter of Authority to establish a branch office. Having carefully considered PSA's contentions, we affirm the Department's approval of St. Edmond's application.

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 177]

On July 29, 1985, St. Edmond's filed an application with the Department for a Letter of Authority to establish a branch office at 1901 East Passyunk Avenue, in Philadelphia. At that time, St. Edmond's had only one office located at 2001 South Twenty-Third Street, in Philadelphia. PSA filed a protest to St. Edmond's application and requested a formal hearing pursuant to 10 Pa. Code § 3.5. That hearing was held on November 18, 1985, during which the Department heard testimony from both St. Edmond's and PSA and also considered a Branch Application Investigatory Report prepared by one of its examiners. On March 13, 1986, the Department Secretary entered an order and adjudication approving St. Edmond's application. PSA filed a timely petition for review with this Court and was granted a stay by order of this Court dated July 18, 1986.

In this appeal, PSA contends that (1) the Department's findings are unsupported by substantial evidence; (2) the Department abused its discretion by approving St. Edmond's application; and (3) the Department abused its discretion in denying PSA's request to cross-examine the Department's examiner who prepared the Branch Application Investigatory Report. We shall discuss these issues seriatim, ever mindful, of course, that our limited scope of review under Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 704, requires the Court to affirm the Department's order and adjudication unless necessary findings are unsupported by substantial evidence; an error of law committed; or a constitutional right of the petitioner violated. Miller v. Department of Banking, 87 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 576, 487 A.2d 1059 (1985).

PSA's first contention is that several necessary findings of the Department are unsupported by substantial evidence. Specifically, PSA challenges the evidentiary

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 178]

    support for findings 6, 12, and 14 through 18. Those ...


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