<p>ALEXANDRIA, Va.-December was a month for charter conversions, both to and from the federal charter. Credit union trade associations have been working to enhance the federal charter to stem the tide of conversions to state charters, particularly popular in California. Five credit unions of widely varying sizes converted from federal to state charter at the end of last year. American First FCU ($465.5 million) in California; Unit 10 FCU ($6 million) in Illinois; Fairfield and Members FCUs ($34 million and $19 million, respectively) in Connecticut; and Eastern Financial Florida FCU ($1.2 billion) all made the switch. Eagle Louisiana ($48 million) in Baton Rouge was the sole credit unions to convert to a federal charter. Still, another new federal credit union was added to the ranks. Word of Life FCU was approved for a new federal charter in Honolulu, Hawaii with 2,500 potential members. However, Citizens Community FCU ($109 million) of Wisconsin converted to a thrift charter. Community charter conversion activity remained high last month with 10 conversions approved with a total of nearly 1.5 million potential members. None were denied and eight were deferred. Underserved area additions were also up in December with 19 federal credit unions applying to add investment areas. Forty applications approved, none were denied and 25 were deferred. A total of 3.2 million potential members were added in those underserved areas. Twenty-seven mergers were approved in December with 12 federal credit unions continuing and 15 state charters remaining in business. The assets of the merging federal credit unions totaled nearly $90 million while the state chartered credit union merging totaled almost $63 million in assets.</p>

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