KENSINGTON, Md. – The $331 million Lafayette Federal Credit Union, whose CEO, Michael Hearne, has campaigned to lower the legal barriers to credit unions making small business loans, has applied to convert to a mutual bank, according to the Office of Thrift Supervision.

The credit union has long been a fixture in the CU industry. Its CEO is a former staff member with the Small Business Administration who served in the office of the agency's chief financial officer for seven years before joining the CU and moving gradually up through the executive ranks to become CEO.

The CU has yet to return calls asking for comment as to why it is seeking conversion and the lawyer advising the CU in the matter, Richard Garabedian with the Washington D.C. firm Luse, Gorman, Pomerenk and Schick, has also not commented.

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