MasterCard, one of just two stocks owned by credit unions, yesterday announced a major windfall for credit unions with the conversion of closely held Class B shares to commonly traded Class A shares.

The company, which issued Class B shares to its credit union and bank owners as part of its 2006 initial public offering, announced that 7.5 million Class B shares will be eligible for conversion under a four-week program. Effective Tuesday all of those Class B shares were converted to Class A shares on a one-for-one basis and now are eligible for sale on the open market.

Class A MasterCard shares, under siege recently because of proposed legislation to lower card interchange fees, closed up 63 cents yesterday at $201.02.

Hundreds of credit unions received Class B shares in the IPO and were forced to hold a large portion of those shares for three years. Credit unions also received Visa shares as part of Visa’s 2008 IPO. The two issues are the only common stocks credit unions are permitted to own.

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