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SEATTLE – By Oct. 25, there will be nothing standing between NW FCU and a state charter but counting members’ ballots for or against a charter conversion. If NW FCU’s members approve the CU’s conversion to a state charter, the state’s third largest federal credit union will become its 17th largest state-chartered CU. That doesn’t bother NW FCU President/CEO William Hayes, he’s looking forward to having an expanded field-of-membership that he said will allow him to grow the CU’s membership. The $250 million NW FCU currently counts 25,000 members in its field-of-membership that mainly includes federal employees. The credit union added the low income area of Beacon Hill to its FOM a couple of years ago, but Hayes said that accounts for a relatively small portion of NW FCU’s membership. “Our membership growth has stagnated,” said Hayes. Hayes said NW FCU tried to expand its field-of-membership and remain a federal charter by applying to the NCUA for a federal community charter. The credit union wanted to include the 2.3 million people from King and Snohomish counties in its FOM. “NCUA didn’t formally tell us no, but they couldn’t tell us what we had to do for them to be able to say yes,” said Hayes. “If they couldn’t tell us what we had to do, how could we know what we needed to do so we could remain a federal charter?” he asked. After not hearing from NCUA for about nine months, Hayes said NW FCU’s Board decided to go the state-charter route because Washington State’s FOM rule is “more lenient.” Once the charter conversion is approved, NW FCU’s FOM will include people who lives, works and worships in King and Snohomish counties, as well as federal employees in Western Washington. Hayes said NW FCU hadn’t yet decided what it’s new name will be once it converts to a state-charter, but it had a few in mind it was considering.

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