Despite pleas by the credit union lobby, Gov. Scott Walker signed a state budget bill with a measure making it easier for credit unions to convert to banks.

Brett Thompson, president of the Wisconsin CU League, which lobbied against the conversion measure, expressed disappointment. "Controversial and complex financial institution chartering policy clearly does not belong in a bill related to the state's finances," Thompson said.

The measure, supported by the Wisconsin Bankers Association, will require the majority of a special meeting called to vote on the conversion — instead of the current requirement of a majority of all members — to complete a conversion from a credit union to a bank. It also will allow credit unions to convert directly to stock-owned banks, bypassing the current intermediate step of converting to mutual savings banks.

The governor did agree to use his line-item veto power and excise 50 provisions from the 1,500-page, $66-billion budget package, but did not veto the credit union measure.

A similar provision was included in the 2009-10 budget but was vetoed by then-Gov. Jim Doyle.

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