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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – It was an active year for CU-to-thrift charter conversions. Notable about this year was the size of some of the converting CUs. Historically CUs that have converted have been on the smaller side, but no more. Take for example the $356 million Rainier Pacific FCU or the $266 million AGE FCU, both of which converted this year. One interesting conversion was that of the $110 Citizens Community FCU, Eau Claire, Wis. This CU tried to convert a few years back, but was unable to because not enough of its members turned out to vote. H.R. 1151 changed the voting rules. Now a CU only needs to have a majority of members voting to approve the conversion. Prior to 1151, a CU needed a majority of its total membership to approve the conversion. The status of former CU Ohio Central FCU is intriguing. The CU, which converted to a thrift in 1998 to become Ohio Central Savings, is now a subsidiary of Third Federal Savings, which at $6 billion is the largest mutual savings bank in the country. The holding company/subsidiary structure is one advantage thrift proponents tout. In total there were seven CU-to-thrift conversions in 2001, with two currently pending.

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