Landmark Credit Union in New Berlin, Wis., is the latest tax-exempt institution to announce plans to buy a bank or thrift.

The $2 billion-asset credit union said Tuesday that it had applied with regulators to buy Hartford Saving Bank, a $194 million-asset thrift based in Hartford, Wis. Hartford Savings had lost $605,000 through mid-2012; it had recorded an aggregate loan-loss provision of $1.7 million through June 30.

The seller has three branches. Ken Braun, the thrift's chairman and chief executive who had previously planned to retire early next year, will serve on a community board. Tom Haley, Hartford Savings' president and chief operating officer, will become a regional president and the chief credit officer at Landmark.

Landmark has taken over 10 area credit unions in the last three years, but this would be its first acquisition of a bank. Credit unions are like banks in many ways, but they are not-for-profit cooperatives

"The acquisition … allows us to strategically expand our branch locations and better serve all customers within our charter area," Ron Kase, Landmark's chief executive, said in a press release. "We continue to execute on our brand promise, which is to bring consistent value and convenience to our members. We do this with great rates on loans and deposits and excellent service."

There have been several instances of credit unions looking to buy banks this year. In January, Griffith Savings Bank in Indiana was sold to United Federal Credit Union in St. Joseph, Mich., for $80 million. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has applied with the National Credit Union Administration to convert its $547 million-asset thrift, Thrivent Financial Bank in Appleton, Wis., to a federally chartered credit union. Several credit unions have also attempted to convert to mutual thrifts.

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