Field of membership expansions can set the stage for mergers

The reverse can also be true.

Field of membership expansion can set a credit union up for a successful merger—or a merger can set up a credit union to expand its field of membership.

One example of the former is VyStar Credit Union, Jacksonville, Florida.

The $8.2 billion completed a 22-county FOM expansion in northeast to central Florida in November and then won approval from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation to serve four Georgia counties, with the goal of serving members who cross the state border regularly for work and play, Wolfburg says. The credit union’s new FOM encompasses 12 million people, about double its former base.

Its expanded service area also cleared the way for VyStar CU to pursue the acquisition of Citizens State Bank, a state-chartered bank based in Perry, Florida, with more than $280 million in assets and four branches in Gainesville, Perry and Steinhatchee. The proposed merger would, in essence, “double our presence in the important market of Gainesville, where the University of Florida is located,” notes CUES member Brian E. Wolfburg, president/CEO of the credit union. “We would go from 10,000 members to 20,000 there immediately.”


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