MONTEREY, Calif. — The members of Monterey Credit Union have voted to convert from a CU charter to a mutual savings bank, the first step on the way to becoming a commercial savings bank.

The $212 million credit union sent ballots to members early last month, with 80% of its 19,000 members voting in favor of changing the charter.

"We are delighted with the overwhelming endorsement of the proposal by our members," chief executive J. Stewart Fuller said in a statement, adding that the CU plans to expand its products and services as a result of the conversion.

Monterey CU's board had reportedly considered voting to transition directly to a commercial bank but made it a two-step process upon the advice of the California Division of Financial Institutions.

The credit union has about $120 million in loans on the books as of its most recent financial statements, concentrated primarily in new and used auto lending.

Monterey CU has so far earned about $775,000 this year. It reported net income of $1.7 million last year.

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