VANCOUVER, Wash. – If its plans go as its hopes, Columbia Credit Union will become the third credit union in Washington State to convert to a mutual savings bank charter in 2003. The $568-million credit union reported it's in the planning phase of converting, reported the Washington Credit Union League. Already this year, Credit Union of the Pacific in Seattle, with $140 million in assets, completed its conversion in the first quarter of 2003. Washington's Credit Union in Mountlake Terrace, with $275 million in assets, announced its plans to convert as well. Columbia CU President David Doss cited fierce competition in his market as the reason for the credit union's decision to convert. Commenting on the conversions, Washington Credit Union League President/CEO John Annaloro said, "These conversions may represent fundamental weaknesses in the overall national credit union charter that needlessly restricts capital accumulation and business lending. Great strides have been made in the credit union system across America in the past five years. But a string of conversions by credit unions in the state with the most progressive charter may point to the need for revolutionary, not evolutionary changes."

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