Credit unions plan merger

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:27 PM

Jesus Lopez Jr.

OGDEN — The boards of directors at Goldenwest Credit Union and USU Charter Credit Union have announced that they plan to merge.

If approved, officials said, the merger of the two Utah-based credit unions will result in a combined 26 branches, $985 million in assets and more than 106,000 members.

“The important thing is that it is a strategic merger; neither organization is in trouble,” said Diana Windley, Goldenwest’s vice president of marketing and communications. “Neither organization is in trouble. Both organizations are quite strong.”

Goldenwest Credit Union dates back to 1936, when it was founded by seven railroaders in Ogden. It currently has more than 89,000 members with 21 branch locations across the state, from Ogden to St. George.

Windley said it is the largest merger in Goldenwest’s history. Its last merger was with Jetway Credit Union about 30 years ago.

“It’s kind of one of those perfect storms where everything falls into place,” Windley said.

The Utah State University credit union opened 56 years ago in Cache Valley. Today, it holds about $139 million in assets, serves more than 17,000 members and operates five branches.

“Our current locations are complementary to each other in that we don’t have anything in each other’s area,” Windley said.

By merging, the credit unions can increase each other’s reach across the state; customers will have access to more technology and more banking products, such as residential mortgages and commercial loans. USU students and alumni will be able to continue to access their accounts at a physical branch if they leave the area as well.

“Not only can their members tap into our branches,” Windley said, “they can tap into all of our services.”

After the merger, both companies will keep their respective brands, but additional signage will identify the USU credit union as a division of Goldenwest.

“It will be a dual brand, if you will,” Windley said.

Goldenwest Credit Union President and CEO Kerry H. Wahlen will be the president and chief executive officer of the new organization.

David Butterfield, president and CEO of USU Charter Credit Union, will become regional president and will be in charge of the Box Elder and Cache County branches, as well as expanding the organization in the area.

“We are really excited about it,” Butterfield said. “We kind of feel it is a game changer for us and our members. It is the first time that we will be able to offer our members a state and nationwide network.”

Since the announcement, the credit unions have worked on a merger package and the merger must be reviewed by the National Credit Union Administration for regulatory approval. The two credit unions hope to merge their financial statements by October.

The National Credit Union Administration said it cannot comment on a proposed or pending merger until staff has reviewed materials and a decision has been made by its board, according to an email from John Fairbanks with the administration’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs.

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