Dublin, Ohio-based American Share Insurance on Thursday said it has been approved to offer primary share insurance to credit unions in Montana.

According to ASI, its application was subject to review and consideration by Montana’s Division of Banking and Financial Institutions, plus the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. Both state regulators recently gave formal approval to ASI, the company said.

Dennis Adams, ASI’s president and CEO, said the addition of Montana means the company now is offering primary share insurance in 10 states – the largest number of states of operation in the 43-year history of the fund.

Starting with its home state of Ohio, the other nine states in which ASI does business are: Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, California, Nevada, Texas, Alabama, Maryland and Montana.

“We are excited about the opportunity to offer Montana’s credit unions an alternative to federal share insurance, and we look forward to a long and professional working relationship with our future business partners in this great state,” Adams said.

Adams told Credit Union Journal ASI first investigated offering private insurance in Montana a few years ago, related to a “foreign” branch of a credit union that was privately insured in another state.

“Last fall, the trade group there, which goes by the name Montana’s Credit Unions, and its president, Tracie Kenyon, set up a conference call from credit unions that were interested in private insurance,” Adams recalled. “In May of this year, I spoke at the trade association’s meeting.”

Given what seemed to be significant interest by Big Sky Country credit unions, in June and July ASI made applications to both state regulators, Adams continued. While having to apply to two regulators – rather than a single state insurance regulator – is “unusual,” Adams noted, he praised both offices for their willingness to engage in productive dialogue and for being “very professional” in all dealings.

After receiving approval earlier this week, Adams said ASI is talking with “a couple of credit unions in Montana, which we cannot disclose.”

Dennis Adams, president and CEO of American Share Insurance
Dennis Adams, president and CEO of American Share Insurance

“We are not an operation that comes in and takes 50 percent of the market; we offer an option,” he said. “We can only insure state charters, but we are an option for federal charters that wish to convert. Of the last eight credit unions we converted in various states, four were federal charters that switched charters and insurance in the same vote.”

Asked if he could name the next state or states to which ASI is looking to expand, Adams said the company is “Not really looking at other states.”

“We wait for states to show interest, then we work with the regulatory construct,” he explained, adding, “I am very pleased with the state regulatory setting in Montana, and the credit unions there seem very healthy.”

Kenyon of Montana’s Credit Unions said the trade group “does not have a policy position on private share insurance.”

American Share Insurance is a member-owned share guaranty corporation licensed by the Ohio Department of Insurance and dual regulated by the Ohio Departments of Insurance and Commerce. The corporation provides up to $250,000 of share insurance on each and every account of an individual member of an insured credit union.