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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Add Jax Navy FCU’s name to the growing list of federal credit unions that have broken rank and either already converted to a state-charter or have applications pending. Jax Navy FCU-the 15th largest credit union in the country with approximately $1.8 billion in assets and the second largest credit union in the Sunshine State-filed its charter conversion application with the Florida Division of Banking Aug. 27. Public notification of the application will begin running in the Florida Administrative Weekly on Sept. 7 for 21 days, as required by the state Administrative Procedures Act. On Sept. 28, Sharon Whiddon, financial administrator for the Division of Banking will consider any request for an appeals hearing her office receives concerning the credit union’s application before rendering her decision. Terry West, president/CEO of Jax Navy said members are expected to vote on the charter conversion in the fourth quarter of the year. If there are no appeals filed on its application the conversion could take place in October, he said. When its charter conversion application is approved, Jax Navy will not only be the largest state-chartered credit union in Florida, it will be the largest state-chartered financial in the state. Jax Navy is already the third largest financial in Northeast Florida in terms of assets – it’s preceded by First Union and Bank of America, both headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. West explained that the credit union’s charter conversion move was in the making for more than a year. He gave as the primary reason for the credit union’s conversion “the greater field-of-membership expansion opportunities the Florida state charter offers. We want to continue to serve a diverse membership,” West said. Jax Navy currently serves 265,000 members. Its field-of-membership is primarily made up of the military and civil service personnel, and also includes 619 companies, churches, groups and associations and their family members. The CU’s current potential membership is 890,000, and it serves 19% of the population in five counties – Duval, St. John’s, Clay, Nassau, and Baker. “A lot of people who are eligible to join the credit union are confused because they think we only serve the Navy,” said West. “We want to be able to offer credit union membership to any consumer the state law allows us to serve. Getting approved for a federal community charter is too complicated, so we’re going the state-charter route. “Under Florida law, defining field-of-membership is more flexible than federal law,” said West. He emphasized that Jax Navy has always worked well with NCUA. Jax Navy FCU was chartered in April 1952. It has always been a federal credit union. West does not anticipate any flak from bankers in Florida in response to Jax Navy’s conversion to a state charter. “The banks won’t see this as a big deal, we’re still going to be who we already are,” he said. At press time, Jax Navy was still unsure what it’s new name will be when its conversion to a state charter is approved. -

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