CU Eyes Bank Status

February 6, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Lake Michigan Credit Union, the largest credit union in West Michigan, has notified the state Office of Financial and Insurance Services that it is considering converting to a federal mutual savings bank.

The credit union’s rapid growth in members and assets, among the highest rates in the nation, is the main reason why LMCU management is contemplating the change.

Becoming a bank would also allow the organization to raise equity capital that could be used for further growth and to expand its loan and depositor base.

“Lake Michigan Credit Union has been successful to the point that the organization has developed up to the parameters of our current charter,” said Sandra Jelinski, LMCU president and CEO.

“We have investigated the options available that will allow us to remain strong and have begun considering a conversion to a federal mutual savings bank,” she added.

LMCU adopted its new name and became a community-charted credit union on March 1, 2002, a move allowed the former CU Financial Group to open its membership to anyone in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Muskegon counties. Grand Rapids Teachers, Health Care, Saint Mary’s Hospital and Alliance credit unions made up the CU Financial Group.

LMCU has more than 93,500 members and 17 locations across West Michigan with assets topping $850 million. In 2003, LMCU was named a peak-performing credit union and ranked fourth nationally for total return to its members.

Over the past two years, LMCU’s assets have grown by 35 percent and its net worth has risen by 25 percent for each of those years.

Credit union members have until the end of the month to comment on the potential change.           

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