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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Credit unions’ community charter conversion activities in May were the highest in recent history, according to recently released NCUA data for last month. According to NCUA’s May Insurance Report of Activity, 19 credit unions were approved for community charter conversions, a 73.1% approval rate. That is the highest number of credit unions to receive approvals in more than 18 months. A total of 45 community charter conversions have been approved so far in 2003. In addition, these community conversions added nearly 9.5 million potential new members to those credit unions’ fields of membership last month. May 2002 was the highest month in this category last year with just 4.7 new potential members. The conversions of America First Federal Credit Union ($2.3 billion) and Goldenwest Federal Credit Union ($255 million) from state charters to federal community charters following the Utah tax battle boosted the numbers by 1.4 million per institution covering nearly identical FOMs. In addition, Dade County Federal Credit Union ($308 million) successfully converted to a community charter with 2.3 million new potential members. It had been turned away in the past under previously existing FOM rules, but got the green light under the current ones. The merger wave continued for the month of May. Eighteen federal credit unions and seven state charters were merged with another 18 federals and seven state charters. Eleven credit unions with assets between $1 and $10 million were merged, including Western Massachusetts Federal Credit Union ($4.7 million) into River Valley School Employees Federal Credit Union ($11 million) and DIR Credit Union in Richmond Va., with $4 million in assets merging with Richmond Federal Credit Union ($30 million) in order to provide expanded services to their members. Another six credit unions with under $1 million in assets were merged, including Daily Times Employees Federal Credit Union ($440,157) being folded into Sun East Federal Credit Union in Aston, Pa. with $253 million in assets and Railroad & Industrial Credit Union in Tampa, Fla. ($133 million) taking over Gaylord Employees Tampa Credit Union ($354,041). Two tiny credit unions were actually merged with other small credit unions including National Lock Employees Credit Union ($470,844 in assets) of Rockford, Ill., with Harry O. Perlee Chapter Credit Union with $1.1 million in assets, in the same city and Greensburg Federal Credit Union ($348,312) merging with $4.7 million UALU 354 Federal Credit Union in Youngwood, Pa. Credit unions also continued to add underserved areas under NCUA’s Access Across America initiative. Twenty credit union proposals were approved by the agency to adopt underserved areas, while one was denied and 19 were deferred. The approved areas include more than 1.3 million new potential members. NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar recently announced that the credit unions that have adopted underserved areas are growing at nearly twice the rate of the national average. NCUA’s year-to-date statistics show that 96 underserved area adoptions have been approved for more than 7.4 million new potential members. Some of the largest underserved areas adopted during May include Dallas, Texas-based Advancial Federal Credit Union’s adoption of Lafayette Parish, Iberia Parish, St. Martin Parish, Vermillion Parish, and Acadia Parish, La. with 425,020 new potential members and a second area called Northern Lafayette (La.) with 164,615 potential members. Also SCE Federal Credit Union in El Monte, Calif. adopted an underserved area with 291,346 potential members. NCUA’s data also found that one Baltimore credit union, forced to leave the Credit Union Insurance Corporation, converted to federal insurance. The agency also recently added a TIP-trade, industry, profession-category to its data, but no credit unions have used the option yet. -

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