LMCU keeps moving forward

May 24, 2010
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Despite an economy that hasn’t been very pleasant for many financial institutions, Lake Michigan Credit Union continues to grow.

LMCU had a banner year last year, perhaps its best in its 77-year history that dates back to its founding in 1933. And the credit union is continuing that momentum this year by bringing Citizens Credit Union of Kalamazoo onboard through a merger that directors of both boards recently approved.

“It was very important to our membership to find a credit union that shared our values and goals of operational excellence,” said Robert Goscicki, president and CEO of Citizens Credit Union.

“This merger allows us to expand our footprint and services in Kalamazoo to a loyal base of Citizen members,” said Sandra Jelinski, LMCU president and CEO.

The merger will grow LMCU’s membership by 9,000 to 169,000 and its assets by $60 million to nearly $2 billion. The state’s Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation has to approve the merger and that is expected to happen by the end of the month.

In addition to extending its reach through the proposed merger, Jelinski reported LMCU had a record year in 2009 — the same year 140 banks were closed. Jelinski said the credit union opened four new branches in Jenison, Allendale, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo last year, while membership and assets also grew.

“Assets grew to $1.833 billion, a 23 percent increase over 2008. We experienced 12 percent growth in membership, ending the year with 155,417 members,” she said.

“As the second-largest credit union in the state, and the 66th-largest credit union in the nation, Lake Michigan Credit Union is a leading and prominent financial institution in West Michigan,” she added.

The addition of those four new branches last year brought the credit union’s total to 26. An approved merger with Citizens Credit Union will bring four more into the fold raising the total to 30. And that number will go up by one soon, as LMCU will open a new branch in St. Joseph at the end of this month.

Jelinski said the credit union’s mortgage closings grew 127 percent last year by financing more than $821 million in home loans for its members. She said the credit union ranked first in West Michigan for mortgage originations and 8th in the state among all financial institutions. LMCU also ranked first in the region for auto loans as it captured nearly 15 percent of that market and its insurance agency grew by 138 percent in 2009.

“Despite the economy, we focused on solid financial strength,” said Jelinski. “Looking forward we will continue to focus on ensuring member satisfaction and quality service.”

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