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tlantec OKd To Exit CU System

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-NCUA approved an application form @tlantec Financial FCU to convert to a mutually owned savings bank, the 27th credit union defector approved for conversion.

The $90-million credit union hopes the open membership of a bank charter will help it arrest its decline in membership, which has fallen from 22,000 to just over 14,000 over the past three years, since it moved from Norfolk, Va., to Virginia Beach and changed its name from Atlantic Fleet FCU. The new institution will be known as Bank @tlantec.

Rates Tip Lower At CUs

WASHINGTON-Credit unions continue to slash the rates the pay on dividends to all-time lows, though the rates remain higher than those paid by banks.

Data compiled by DataTrac Corp. show the average credit union rate continued to fall in recent weeks for regular shares to just 0.84%; for share drafts (checking) to only 0.5%; and for money market accounts to a meager 1%.

Still, those rates are significantly higher than the averages recorded for banks, which paid 0.5% for regular savings; 0.35% for checking; and 0.55% for money market accounts.

DataTrac tracks rates for 8,000 depository institutions, including 1,000 credit unions.

FOM Free-For-All Busts Out In Neb.

OMAHA, Neb.-NCUA said it approved requests from both Omaha-based Neighborhood Community FCU and U.P. Connection FCU to serve 700,000 people in surrounding Douglas and Sarpy Counties, Neb., and adjoining Pottawattamie County, Iowa.

That makes at least four credit unions approved to serve those sprawling communities, with both SAC FCU and Centris (formerly Bell) FCU, approved for those FOMs last year.

NCUA said it OKd another 13 conversions to community charters in August, including the biggest ever granted a federal credit union, a request from SunWest FCU, Phoenix, to serve 3.1 million residents in surrounding Maricopa County.

Also approved in August was an application from Windsor Locks FCU, Windsor Locks, Ct., to serve 875,000 people in Hartford County.

CO-OP Slashes Back Office Fees

ONTARIO, Calif.-The CO-OP Network said Monday it has cut a number of back office fees which are projected to save its 1,500 credit union users as much as $4.6 million a year.

The pricing cuts will encompass such fees as support fees for driving ATMs; testing and certification; identifications to desktop director for processing; and online microfiche storage, according to Gene Polito, president of the CO-OP, who said as any as 10 fees will be reduced.

"What we did was go through everything and say, 'where do we think as an organization we can provide substantial savings to our credit unions,'" Polito told The Journal. This is the second pricing cut enacted by the CO-OP this year, following a $1.3 million reduction in February.

CU Nemesis Retires From Senate

WASHINGTON-Republican Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma, one of just six senators to vote against HR 1151, recently announced that he is going to retire from the Senate, rather than seeking re-election to a fifth term.

Nickles, one of the senior Republicans in the Senate, helped get the ball rolling in last year's Republican caucus coup that toppled Trent Lott of Mississippi from the Majority Leader's seat ickles and the caucus replaced Sen. Lott with Bill Frist of Tenn.

Nickles is the third senator to retire of the half dozen senators who bucked their colleagues in the landslide 92-6 HR 1151 vote.

The only opponents left are Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Inhofe (R-OK).

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