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WASHINGTON-America’s Community Bankers listed among its priority issues for 2006 the Credit Union Charter Choice Act (H.R. 3206) and clearing obstacles to further conversions of credit unions to mutual savings banks. ACB First Vice Chairman Mark Macomber, president and CEO of Litchfield Bancorp in Litchfield, Conn., taunted NCUA as a “cheerleader” for credit unions in a room full of community bankers. He told attendees of the Government Affairs Conference, “The NCUA has pretty much gone out of its way to stall any credit union conversion to a mutual savings bank.” He referred to the lawsuit of two recent large credit unions that eventually received mutual savings bank charters, Community and OmniAmerican in Texas, as the “origami case” after the notorious folding argument. Viewpoint Bank, formerly Community Credit Union, was in attendance of ACB’s Government Affairs Conference. “This is how ridiculous it gets,” Macomber stated. ACB Government Affairs Steering Committee Vice Chairman William White, head of Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, which competes head-to-head with DFCU Financial Federal Credit Union, called the credit union’s current conversion attempt a “mixed blessing.” He explained, “I’m always happy to welcome another tax-paying null into the world.” At this point, ACB is not formally or informally involved in the lawsuit filed by DFCU against the Michigan Credit Union League, officials said. ACB President and CEO Diane Casey-Landry said that she was astounded by the league’s stance. “We don’t tell our members what to think,” she stated, adding that it is all about choice. Don’t be surprised to see Lake Michigan Credit Union take another stab at a conversion as well, ACB Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Bob Davis speculated. He later told Credit Union Times that he had no direct knowledge that something was in the works again at Lake Michigan. He encouraged the conference participants to lead off with this subject when discussing credit unions on the Hill as it resonates better with members of Congress before getting into the tax issue. -

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