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ARLINGTON, Va. – Another former credit union has begun laying the groundwork for going public. Headquartered in Albany, Georgia, AGE FCU was a $269 million credit union as of March 31, 2001, its last quarter for which it reported data to the NCUA. The credit union, which was first chartered in 1955 to serve marines at a base in Albany, began life as HeritageBank of the South in June 2001 and has only now decided to raise capital through the mutual holding company structure in order to expand its operations either through new branches or through the purchase of another bank, Heritage said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bank also wants to offer a stock option plan in order to help it retain qualified employees, the bank said. The bank was worth $348 million as of March 31, 2005, according to the filing. “I am not surprised they are doing it,” said Lee Bettis, former CEO of the credit union turned bank who retired from the institution relatively soon after the conversion. “I haven’t kept up with those folks particularly, but I expect they need to do something to grow out of that market,” Bettis added, “It’s such a closed market.” Bettis, who remained a depositor at the bank, said he had not yet decided how much to buy but said he would likely participate in the stock offering. The bank said it plans to sell between 2,167,500 and 3,372,375 shares of stock depending on how the stock offering goes and will offer first crack at the $10.00 per share offering to those depositors of record as of December 31, 2003, many of which are depositors from the former credit union. The bank plans to sell 30% of its stock and hold onto 70% as part of a mutual holding company structure, although it reserved the right in the future to sell more to complete a second step conversion and go completely public. Such a step would require and additional vote from the bank’s depositors to approve the move, the filing noted. Nine of the bank’s executive officers and board members, only a few of which appeared to have been members of the credit union board, told the SEC that they will purchase at least 155,500 shares of the stock for over $1.5 million.

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