BALTIMORE — Advance Bank shareholders have approved the proposed sale of the institution to Municipal Employees CU of Baltimore, and the credit union will take control of the bank Dec. 12.

Maryland's Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the National Credit Union Administration all gave their approvals in October.

Dorothea Stierhoff, senior public relations manager at the $1.2 billion MECU, told Credit Union Journal that letters have been sent to Advance Bank customers and the CU is preparing for the transition. "We will have a lot to do beginning Dec. 12, and we are looking forward to bringing the bank and all of its customers on board."

Stierhoff said the CU expects to complete the data processing conversion by early March.

This is the first deal of this nature closed by a state chartered credit union," said Michael Bell, attorney and counselor with Royal-Oak, Mich.-based Howard & Howard, who represents MECU. "It's a slight, but important, leap forward and continues to expand the possibilities for CUs. More transactions like this are imminent."

Four other deals involving credit unions and banks have been signed in the last two years: The $260 million-asset Five Star, Dothan, Ala., is acquiring the $23 million Flint River National Bank in Camilla, Ga.; Wisconsin's $2.1 billion Landmark CU is acquiring the $190 million Hartford Savings Bank; Massachusetts' $429 million GFA FCU acquired New Hampshire's $83 million Monadnock Savings Bank; and the credit union that put everything in motion, Michigan's $1.6 billion United FCU, acquired the $81 million Griffith Savings Bank in Indiana.

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