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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Lake Michigan Credit Union, the $1 billion credit union headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that is seeking to change its charter to a mutual bank has submitted the disclosure notice required by NCUA regulations to the agency for review. Once the agency indicates that it does not object to the disclosure notice, the credit union will send it to its 99,000 members 90 days before the special meeting on the proposed charter change. Reminders about the meeting and the need to vote will also be sent at the 60- and 30 -day mark. The credit union has also applied to the Office of Thrift Supervision, which will be its new regulator if the change is successful, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, its new insurer. The credit union has completed its application with the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services, its current regulator, and OFIS has yet to issue a ruling on the change. Lake Michigan has sent copies of the OTS and the FDIC applications to OFIS, according to a letter included with its application to OTS, and have sought to reassure the state regulator about the process. In an April 23 letter to the regulator, Michael Sadow, an attorney with the Washington D.C. law firm of Silver, Freedman and Taft, wrote that “the special meeting will be held at 5:30 PM, consistent with the time the Credit Union has held its member meetings in the past. The Credit Union typically holds its member meetings at the Credit Union’s main office, which accommodates approximately 70 to 80 individuals; however the Credit Union intends to hold the special meeting at a location that will accommodate no less than 500 members,” Sadow added. Silver, Freedman and Taft is one of the law firms specializing in helping credit unions make the shift to bank charters. Sadow also noted that “the Board relied on its more than 180 combined years of experience in the credit union industry,” in deciding to make the charter change and also relied on “presentations of its consultants and legal advisors regarding the institution’s inability to raise supplemental capital as a credit union.” Meanwhile the credit union has run afoul of the Planning Commission in Caledonia Township, the locality where it has located its auto resale operation designed to help sell off autos which were previously part of its auto leasing program. The Caledonia Township Planning Commission voted to revoke the portion of the credit union’s site plan which had been approved for the “storage and resale of company cars,” the paper reported. The commission objected to the site being turned into a “used-car lot,” according to the Grand Rapids Press. When it had applied for the site use permit, the credit union had told the commission that cars there would only be sold privately to members, but planning commission staff saw advertisements in newspapers advertising the credit union’s cars. Lake Michigan’s attorney, Joel Bouwens, argued that the Planning Commission lacked the authority to revoke part of the site permit and must pursue an ordinance complaint. According to NCUA, the credit union had $258 million, or about 33%, of its loan portfolio in leases in 2003. Neither the lawyer for the credit union nor anyone from the Planning Commission returned calls for this story. [email protected]

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