The serious problems at Arrowhead Credit Union may have been on regulators' radar for months, but the NCUA's June 25 takeover of the $876 million California CU surprised some in the CU community, including the $4 billion Alaska USA FCU. Alaska USA was finalizing a deal to buy four of Arrowhead's southern California branches.

Without much incident "and just a few hiccups," the Anchorage CU said it was able to complete the purchase outright and start managing member accounts at three of the High Desert/Big Bear branches, co-owning a fourth in Barstow with the $581 million Pacific Marine CU of Camp Pendleton.

"Just like everybody else we were told at three o'clock Alaska time by our staff down there they were posting signs on the branch doors about the conservatorship," said Dan McCue, senior vice president-corporate administration of the Anchorage CU.

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