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ALEXANDRIA, Va.-Last month, NCUA approved a multi-million resident community field of membership expansion for Topline Federal Credit Union in Minnesota. The credit union will now be able to serve an additional 2.6 million potential members in Anoka Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. No other large expansions were approved during February and the number of community charter conversions was down from the same time last year. Only four community conversions were approved in February, down from eight in February 2005 and eight again in October 2005. The American Bankers Association filed suit against NCUA in November involving two community charters, challenging the ability of community credit unions to adopt underserved areas in one case and questioning the community definition in another. In December, the number of community conversions dropped to four, then three in January 2006. “Basically under the moratorium a credit union that has a multiple group charter and also has underserved areas would have to give up the underserved areas to convert to a community,” NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs John McKechnie explained. He said he has heard anecdotally that applications to convert to community charters have slowed as credit unions evaluate whether they want to give up their underserved areas. There has been a general trend downward he noted due to concern over the ABA litigation. NCUA did approve the addition of 14 underserved areas for 11 federal credit unions last month, adding a potential 2.3 million to their fields of membership. One state-chartered credit union, $62 million First Financial Community of Brownsville, Texas, converted to a federal charter. Also, a new federal credit union was born: Port Trust Federal Credit Union in Charleston, S.C. with nearly 65,000 potential members. The credit union industry continued its merger streak with 21 combinations during the month of February. Eight of the merging credit unions were over $10 million in assets. The largest merging credit unions were $70 million Colorado Central Credit Union of Arvada with $141 million Sooper Credit Union of Denver.

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