2 N.J. Credit Unions Seek Thrift Charters

WASHINGTON-To escape membership restrictions, two New Jersey credit unions want to convert to thrift charters.

In applications recently filed with the Office of Thrift Supervision, Central Bergen Federal Credit Union, Hackensack, and Synergy Federal Credit Union, Cranford, said switching charters would allow them to attract more depositors and expand their real estate lending.

"Looking at their business plans, these credit unions determined they could better serve members by becoming thrifts," said Richard Fisch, a partner with Malizia, Spidi, Sloane & Fisch, the Washington law firm that prepared the applications.

Part of the impetus behind the applications, Mr. Fisch said, was a 1996 court decision that barred occupation-based federal credit unions from adding new companies to their fields of membership. The Supreme Court plans to review the case this year.

"They want to be able to have their doors open to new customers as wide as possible," Mr. Fisch said. "But even without the court decision's limitations, these credit unions can make more money as thrifts."

Central Bergen Federal was chartered to serve teachers in Bergen County. Its membership now includes employees at roughly 120 unrelated companies. Synergy Federal originally served employees of Schering-Plough Corp., a pharmaceutical company. Kevin Wenthen, Synergy's senior vice president of business development and marketing, declined to say how many other companies the credit union serves.

Two other credit unions are seeking thrift charters: Affiliated Federal, Herst, Texas, and BUCS Federal, Owings Mills, Md. Two other credit unions have converted to thrifts in recent years.

-Olaf de Senerpont Domis FDIC Cuts Banks Slack on New Call Reports

WASHINGTON-Banks will get a slight break in complying with revisions to the 1997 requirements for call reports, regulators said Monday.

As of June 30, institutions must report more data related to interest rate risk. Originally, the agencies said call reports would have to contain maturity dates and repricing information on real estate loans and mortgage- backed securities.

But in early June, regulators changed course. Call reports would only have to contain such data on home mortgage loans and pass-through securities backed by home mortgages.

Because the change was announced so close to the filing date, institutions may submit "reasonable estimates" for the rest of the year while they fine-tune their internal reporting systems, explained Robert F. Storch, accounting chief of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The change was made because mortgage data are more readily available and easier to analyze, he said.

-Dean Anason Sallie Mae Fight Said to Be Hurting Business

WASHINGTON-The debate over Sallie Mae's future is costing the company business, according to David J. Vitale, vice chairman of First Chicago NBD Corp.

Mr. Vitale, management's choice as chairman of the Student Loan Marketing Association, on Friday wrote to Albert L. Lord, leader of the Committee to Restore Value at Sallie Mae, a group of dissident shareholders.

"Your public advocacy of competition with our key distribution channel has already lost or put at risk over $1 billion in loan purchases in the second quarter alone," Mr. Vitale wrote.

Mr. Lord was unavailable for comment Monday, but a committee spokesman, J. Paul Carey, said any runoff in business is a result of the rates Sallie Mae is paying for loans.

The battle for control of Sallie Mae has raged for months. Shareholders are expected to vote on competing plans to privatize the student loan concern in August.

-Jaret Seiberg

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