Wisconsin credit unions are urging Gov. Scott Walker to strike a provision from the state's budget that would allow state-chartered credit unions to more easily convert to banks.

In Wisconsin, a state-chartered credit union must switch to a federal charter before taking steps to convert to a mutual savings bank, but that step would be eliminated under a provision in the state budget bill that passed the Senate on Friday and is now headed to Gov. Walker's desk.

Most of Wisconsin's credit unions are state chartered. Lee Bettis, the executive director of a Washington advocacy group called the Coalition for Credit Union Charter Options, said that the provision would put credit unions looking to convert on equal footing with both federal credit unions and state-chartered credit unions in other states.

"This 'two-step' is a costly, time-consuming process that is unnecessary in almost every other state," Bettis said when the provision was inserted into the state budget last month.

But Wisconsin credit unions are asking Gov. Walker, a Republican, to exercise his line-item veto power and strike the provision from the bill because it was inserted without any public debate.

In a news release Friday, the Wisconsin Credit Union League, said that unless the Governor vetoes the measure "Wisconsin may ultimately see fewer credit unions available to serve average citizens who can't get the financial help they need from profit-driven banks."

A similar provision was passed by the state Legislature last year but was vetoed by then Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat.

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