CUNA Mutual Group said it has signed a letter of intent to sellits individual retirement account services division to Ascensus, aretirement services firm.

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The sale, which is expected to close on July 31, is part of CUNAMutual's overall corporate strategy to simplify its business andfocus on its core insurance business and products, the companysaid. The Dresher, Pa.-based Ascensus services more than 26,000defined contribution plans and is a division of Crump Group Inc., awholesale insurance distributor.

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The 47 employees of the IRA services division will becomeAscensus associates when the sale closes, according to CUNA Mutual.They will continue to work from the same location in Middleton,Wis. CUNA Mutual acquired the IRA services business from CUNA &Affiliates in 1999.

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"This action reinforces our efforts to focus our company onthose products that are core to our customers and to CUNA Mutual'sfuture success," said Jeff Post, president/CEO of CUNA Mutual. "Inaddition, this sale further ensures our continued financialstrength. Ascensus is a strong company, a good business partner anda quality employer. Ultimately, our product and our staff benefitfrom this transaction."

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