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SALT LAKE CITY – The parade of Utah state-chartered credit unions – both big and small – lining up for conversion to federal charter shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed, NCUA’s regional office in Concord, Calif. okayed two more approvals last month for the $45 million Carbon Credit Union in Price on Oct. 16 preceded six days earlier by approval for the $280 million Deseret First Credit Union of Salt Lake on Oct. 10. Deseret First is the lead CU for the Mormon Church in Utah and has made known its plans to branch into metropolitan Phoenix in a year and later to San Diego “We did our exit interview last night (Nov. 3) with examiners and we now are waiting to hear,” said John Palmer, president of the $50 million McKay Dee CU of Ogden, whose board approved a decision to convert last March in an application which extends to six counties. Meanwhile, the $300-million University of Utah Credit Union, the state’s fourth largest, has already undergone a “preconversion” exam, said a spokesman for the Utah Department of Financial Institutions. Palmer said in expanding outside of its domicile Weber County, the health-based CU expects to eventually add branches in any of five other counties including Morgan, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele and Summit. The McKay exec said he is hopeful the CU’s financial statement will meet NCUA requirements after initial skepticism by the agency over a relatively small CU reaching out to a broad geographic area of the state with a branching program. He said his larger Ogden competitor, the $255 million Goldenwest FCU, “had the same problem when NCUA looked at their application” That application was approved by NCUA’s Concord, Calif. regional office last May in a package of bids including the state’s two largest, America First, also of Ogden and Mountain America CU of Salt Lake “We put together a five year plan showing our capital ratios and projected income and we feel we have met requirements,” said Palmer noting also that shared branching is part of the package put before NCUA. Palmer said he understands NCUA stipulates shared branching for community applications such as McKay Dee. McKay Dee, with 6,500 members drawn from a large Salt Lake hospital complex and the Intermountain Health Care system, decided on switching to a federal charter “as a defensive move,” said Palmer. He pointed to the expansion programs of large CUs in Salt Lake and Ogden. When it comes to changes in member demographics and FOM growth, “artificial boundaries have little basis any longer,” observed Palmer. As for Carbon CU of Price and its conversion application, Mike Milovich, president and CEO, said his CU “can now open branches in four additional counties and we expect to open a branch in each of those counties with our first branch next May or June.” He declined for now to name a location for Carbon’s first branch but said under its application the CU, which has 8,900 members. can expand into Emery, Duchesne, Grand and San Juan Counties. -

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