Banking & Finance and Lakeshore

Credit unions announce merger

October 14, 2015
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United Federal Credit Union branch
St. Joseph-based United Federal Credit Union, founded in 1949, serves about 140,000 members at 27 branches in six states. Photo via

A pair of credit unions in the region have announced their intent to merge, which they said will create a top-20 credit union in the U.S. with more than $6 billion in total assets.

Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union, or LMCU, and St. Joseph-based United Federal Credit Union, or UFCU, announced the deal today.

The boards of both credit unions unanimously approved the deal, which is subject to “regulatory and other approvals.” The organizations expect the deal to close by the end of the year.

The credit unions described the deal as the “largest merger in credit union history.”

The organizations indicated the merger will create a top-20 credit union in terms of total assets and net loans.

The combined organization will have more than $8 billion in its mortgage servicing portfolio and 1,400 employees who will provide financial services and products to about 500,000 members at 78 locations across multiple states.

United Federal Credit Union will become United Credit Union, and both credit unions will be consolidated under the LMCU state charter.


LMCU, founded in 1933, is one of the largest financial institutions based in Michigan, with assets exceeding $4 billion, more than 360,000 members and 37 branches across Michigan.


UFCU, founded in 1949, has assets of roughly $2 billion, about 140,000 members and 27 branches in six states: Michigan, Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio

"Tremendous opportunity"

LMCU President and CEO of Sandy Jelinksi said the two credit unions have similar cultures and complementary geographies and service strengths that make the combination a natural fit.

“Both of our organizations are dedicated to delivering the very best to our members, and we are proud to continue our support of important events in our communities,” Jelinski said. “This is an exciting opportunity for the employees and members of both organizations to build the absolute best credit union in the country.”

Gary Easterling, president and CEO of UFCU, said the organization is excited to merge with LMCU.

“We view this as a tremendous opportunity for our employees and our members to combine with another great organization that will significantly expand our potential for mutual future success,” Easterling said.

Staffing and leadership

The transaction is not anticipated to impact staffing or branch offices.

Senior management from both organizations will remain in place, and the “combined leadership will set the tone for superior service and future growth for the merged organization.”

Easterling, who previously announced his upcoming retirement, will remain involved during the transition.

Jelinksi will serve as president and CEO of the merged credit union. 

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