Florida CU Makes 2nd Bid To Convert

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Sunshine State CU will try a second time to convert to a mutual savings bank, officials with the $180-million credit union announced last week.

The credit union applied with the Office of Thrift Supervisions almost two years ago and won broad member approval for the charter switch, but was forced to withdraw its application last year after it fired long-time CEO Mark LeCain, as federal regulators were reluctant to grant final approval with the upheaval in management.

Since then, LeCain, who ran the credit union for 14 years, has been replaced by Lou Davis, who had headed First Bank of Florida, a West Palm Beach savings bank.

Credit union management has told members throughout the management upheaval, including at January's annual meeting, that they planned to proceed with the conversion. The reason, according to a source involved in the process, is the limited field of membership of the credit union, which serves state employees.

Under Florida law, the credit union will require a simple majority vote of the members to proceed with the conversion.

Sunshine State CU is the second credit union over the past three weeks to announce plans to pursue a conversion to a bank charter. Earlier, the $340-million Lafayette FCU in Kensington, Md. also applied to the OTS to become a mutual savings bank.

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