The membership of Lusitania Federal Credit Union has voted overwhelmingly to convert the institution to a mutual savings bank.

About a third of the Newark, N.J., credit union's 6,000 voting members cast ballots during a special meeting Jan. 23, with 97% voting in favor of the conversion.

Despite the support, the vote could be meaningless. The balloting was not preapproved by the National Credit Union Administration, which could declare it invalid.

The NCUA reserves the right to determine whether such ballots are appropriate, and has rejected the results of three earlier votes, said Sam Malizia, senior partner of the Washington law firm Malizia, Spidi, Sloane & Fisch, which is representing Lusitania.

The credit union decided to go ahead without the NCUA's nod because it was tired of delays, a Lusitania official said.

Lusitania is the first credit union to apply for a thrift charter, and it has filed applications with the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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