Nearly half of the 96 Tennessee credit unions that were seeking federal insurance because their private insurer plans to go out of business have obtained the coverage or are about to do so.

The National Credit Union Administration has given the nod to 39 of the credit unions, and eight others are set for approval once their paperwork has been completed, said William Thomas, chief credit union regulator for Tennessee's Banking Department.

Flight from Private Insurer

The Tennessee credit unions are or were insured by Mutual Guaranty Corp. of Chattanooga. The private insurer is planning to liquidate because credit unions it covered in several states have been dropping out since 1991.

Federal insurance applications from 49 of the 96 have been deferred, said H. Allen Carver, director of NCUA's southeastern region, which is handling the conversion. Most of those institutions must make "very minor" steps to get insurance, such as correcting paperwork deficiencies, he said.

The 96 credit unions hold about $1 billion of assets, about $835 million of which is now federally insured, Mr. Carver said.

In the past five years, his office has also handled the Georgia credit unions' conversions to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund in 1988-89 and the Florida groups' shift in 1992 and this year.

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