Municipal Employees Credit Union in Baltimore has received approval from the National Credit Union Administration to buy a bank.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has already signed off on the $1.2 billion-asset credit union’s purchase of Advance Bank in Baltimore. The credit union still needs approval from state regulators, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Advance’s shareholders.

"We expect that to come within the next two weeks, if not sooner," said Michael Bell, a lawyer at Howard & Howard in Royal-Oak, Mich. "NCUA really moved efficiently and their approval came more quickly than the previous deals I have worked on."

Bell has been involved with a number of credit union/bank mergers. He played a key role in engineering the first credit union purchase of a stock-owned bank when GFA Federal Credit Union in Gardner, Mass., bought Monadnock Community Bank in Peterborough, N.H. Bell also represented Michigan's United Federal Credit Union two years ago when it became the first credit union to buy a bank when it acquired Griffith Savings Bank in Indiana.

Bell is also working with Five Star Credit Union in Dothan, Ala., in its effort to buy Flint River National Bank in Camilla, Ga.

In all, five credit unions are acquired, or are in the process of buying, banks.

The story first appeared in the Mergers & Acquisitions sister publication Credit Union Journal.

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