Landmark Credit Union GetsMakeover

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BOSTON - (07/18/06) – Filene FCU, one of the firstcredit unions in the United States, was approved by NCUA to convertfrom a multiple group credit union serving employees of the variousFederated Department Stores, to a community charter serving halfthe city of Boston, NCUA reported Monday. The $24-million creditunion was founded in 1921 by William Filene, who owned the famousdepartment store chain with his brother and credit unionforefather, Edward Filene. The Filenes came to America from Germanyafter which, their father, also William Filene, changed the familyname from ‘Katz’ to what he thought was the Englishequivalent (feline), according to Edward Mann, president and CEO ofthe 95-year-old credit union. Mann said they resolved to abandontheir various select groups, which served disparate pockets acrossthe country affiliated with Federated’s May's, Hecht’s,Macy’s, Lazarus, Rich’s, Bon Marche andBurdine’s, in exchange for a more cohesive membership base.“Basically, you have membership potential all over thecountry,” Mann told The Credit Union Journal of the formerFOM, which had expanded nationwide since Federated’sacquisition of the nation’s largest group of departmentstores. “We’re trying something else now.” Thecredit union, which serves just 2,500 members, moved across thestreet last year from its headquarters of 85 years atFilene’s Downtown Crossing building. CEO Mann said the newcharter will enable it to compete with just a handful of creditunions serving downtown Boston, as well as with Bank of America,which acquired local bank giant Fleet Financial last year. Evenwhile Federated phases out the original sponsor name, the creditunion has no current plans to change its moniker because of thebroad name recognition of the Filene brand, said Mann.

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