The pace of credit unions converting to mutual savings banks has slowed considerably in recent years, largely because a number of credit unions that wanted to switch charters gave up after running into roadblocks put up by their members or their regulator.

But industry experts say that a confluence of events brought on by the mortgage market meltdown, most notably the multi-billion-dollar bailout of the nation's corporate credit unions, could be setting the stage for a surge of conversion applications this year.

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