Nevada Federal Credit Union is converting to a state-chartered institution, a decision that if approved by its members will allow the credit union to serve 300,000 more potential members.
"We have been limited by our federal charter to the counties in Nevada we could serve," said Brad Beal, president and chief executive officer of Nevada Federal Credit Union.
The Las Vegas-based credit union now serves all of Clark County but is restricted to small, inner-city areas of Reno, Sparks and Pahrump.
The $695 million credit union operates 21 branches that serve about 81,000 members. No new branches are being considered now, he said.
Beal said a state charter would allow the credit union to serve all of Washoe and Nye counties.
"We are going to leverage our investment in those (branches) to serve a broader market," he said.
Nevada Federal has received preliminary approval from the National Credit Union Administration and state regulators to convert its charter. Beal said ballots are going out to members next week and voting will conclude Aug. 30.
Because the credit union will be dropping "federal" from its name, Beal said, a new name will be announced by the end of the year.
"The bulk of the cost of the conversion will be in the name change and a marketing campaign that will follow the conversion," he said.
Beal, a former chairman of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said the credit union will remain a NAFCU member. He said the credit union has no plans to join the Credit Union National Association even though it works with the organization on a number of projects in Nevada.
For the first quarter of 2011, Nevada Federal reported net earnings of $157,672, despite a $3.5 million loan loss provision. In his note to members, Beal said the first quarter was the best for Nevada Federal in the past two years.
As of June 30, Nevada Federal had a net worth ratio of 9.74 percent, even though it has felt the impact of a state economy devastated by the recession.
"We feel fortunate to have gone through what we have and be where we are today," Beal said.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at email@example.com or 702-477-3893.