In Brief: Community CU of Tex. Plans Conversion

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The nation's largest community-chartered credit union announced plans this week to convert to a mutual savings bank.

The $1.7 billion-asset Community Credit Union in Plano, Tex., would be the largest to convert to a bank.

Gary Base, Community's president and chief executive, said the mutual thrift charter would provide more chances for growth.

"We just think the option will present us better opportunities for where we're going as an institution," Mr. Base told The Credit Union Journal. Community is active in mortgages and business lending, and to remain competitive, "you have to stay on your toes."

Mr. Base, an outspoken proponent of credit unions and the chairman of the Texas Credit Union Commission for the past seven years, said he would not abandon that stance.

"I'll always be a great credit union advocate. It's been a great charter for 52 years," he said.

Community, which was founded in 1951 to serve employees of Collins Radio Corp., now serves 57 communities around Dallas and has one of the country's broadest fields of membership. Under applications filed with state and federal regulators, Community would convert to a mutual savings bank, then sell stock to the public through a mutual holding company structure.

The conversion, which would be the first for a Texas-chartered credit union, would require approval of 51% of voting members. Community would also be the first billion-dollar credit union to convert to a mutual savings bank. It is more than four times as large as Rainier Pacific Credit Union in Fife, Wash., which made the largest such conversion in late 2000.

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