Banking & Finance and Lakeshore

Credit unions call off merger

January 8, 2016
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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 fb.com

After announcing their intent to merge, a pair of credit unions have decided to maintain a more independent relationship.

Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union, or LMCU, and St. Joseph-based United Federal Credit Union, or UFCU, said today that they have called off their proposed merger.

LMCU and UFCU announced their plans to consolidate under the LMCU state charter last October.

The call

The decision to remain independent came after “careful consideration” and a mutual agreement that LMCU and UFCU are better served by remaining independent at this time to deliver the best value to their customers.

Sandy Jelinski, president and CEO at LMCU, said the credit union appreciates the opportunity to get to know the team at UFCU.

“(We) believe our healthy partnership discussions led us to realize we each have unique attributes, members and communities that should remain distinct,” Jelinski said. “We are both based in the great state of Michigan, and we look forward to continuing to share best practices between our two strong financial organizations.”

Gary Easterling, president and CEO at UFCU, said the organization gained valuable insight and has great takeaways from the process.

“This was the case of two strong organizations coming together, and in the end, we both believed our best path forward was to be independent,” Easterling said. “We look forward to continuing to put our members first as we always have.”

The decision to call of the merger was a result of “business reasons” rather than not receiving the necessary membership and regulatory approvals. Since the regulatory process for the deal was not finalized, the merger was not put to a vote.

LMCU and UFCU indicated both financial institutions are “strong” on their own and have respected brands with "deep roots" in their communities.

The credit unions intend to seek the “right external opportunities for growth and expansion” to provide greater value to their members and plan to focus on business growth and opening new branches this year.

Proposed merger

At the time their intent to merge was announced, the credit unions indicated the combined organization would be a top-20 credit union in the nation, based on net assets and net loans.

The combined organization was expected to have more than $6 billion in assets, more than $8 billion in its mortgage servicing portfolio and a team of nearly 1,400 employees providing services to 500,000 members at 78 locations.

LMCU

LMCU manages more than $4 billion in assets and a mortgage servicing portfolio of about $8 billion.

The credit union has more than 900 employees and provides financial services to more than 330,000 members across 37 branches.

UFCU

UFCU provides services to more than 130,000 members and owners and manages more than $2 billion in assets.

The financial institution’s network reaches from its corporate office in southwest Michigan to Arkansas, North Carolina, Nevada, Indiana and Ohio.

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