Valley Strong Credit Union and Financial Center Credit Union announce full merger approvals
BAKERSFIELD, CA (September 27, 2021) — A proposed merger between Valley Strong Credit Union and Financial Center Credit Union has received regulatory approval as well as consent by an overwhelming majority of Financial Center’s Members.
With nearly 11% of participating Members casting ballots, 86% voted “yes,” paving the way for an October 1, 2021, legal merger. The results were announced Thursday, September 23, during a special meeting held at Financial Center’s Stockton headquarters.
Combined, the organization will operate under the Valley Strong name, with President/CEO Nicholas Ambrosini leading the credit union. The organization’s combined assets will be approximately $3.5 billion and will serve more than 210,000 Members with 27 branches throughout the San Joaquin Valley from Lodi to Tehachapi. Two additional branches are expected to open before the end of the year.
The biggest change at this time is Financial Center will be legally combined with Valley Strong. From a Member perspective, there will be minimal impact at legal merger date. Both organizations will continue to serve its respective Members “business as usual” at their branch locations as they ramp up efforts to work on Financial Center being fully integrated from a systems perspective in early 2022.
When the merger was announced, the phrase “Growing Together,” was adopted as the mantra to represent the strategic partnership between two financially healthy, future focused credit unions who are committed to providing unparalleled branch access, digital access, and amazing service for the Members and the communities they serve.
Michael P. Duffy, President/CEO, of Financial Center Credit Union said, “In a financial services sector that is constantly evolving, this merger is a true embodiment of the credit unions industry’s cooperative mind-set. At its core this is about a collective mindset that allows us to achieve our goals faster than we could duplicate on our own.”
When asked what it means to Members to achieve these goals faster, Duffy added, “We recognize merger critics may point to our healthy capital and ask why we didn’t just opt to go it alone. That was of course the first consideration. But the reality is, we do the same things for the same reasons so why not eliminate redundancy and grow faster and better together. On our own it would take years to develop and implement while still having the challenges scale so why not give members more and build the organization for the next decade at the same time.” Duffy continued, “We took our national search for a partner seriously. Together with Valley Strong, it’s a win-win, because members are the focus, and we will be able to serve even more people throughout San Joaquin and the state of California.”
Ambrosini agreed with Duffy. “I recently shared a thought leadership piece about my journey as CEO of Valley Strong. In it, I talked about my belief that credit unions are uniquely positioned to address the challenges of an increasingly fractured financial landscape. By our very nature – and charter – we can lean into social issues and engage with Members in ways that improve their lives.” Ambrosini went on to say, “I am steadfast in my belief that mergers, when done for the right reasons, are one strategy that allows us to deliver ultimate value to Members, communities, and team members. Our strategic partnership with Financial Center is grounded in a human-centered, collaborative, democratic approach.”
Ambrosini added, “As Valley Strong looks to the future and how to turn peoples’ financial possibilities into financial realities we’re committed to maintaining a cooperative mindset.”
From the onset of their partnership, both organizations have worked diligently to develop and execute merger communication that included education that would encourage Financial Center Members to cast their votes.
As the merger process continues to moves forward, both credit unions will provide information to their respective memberships via their websites (fccuburt.org and valleystrong.com), and other applicable communication channels.
Michael Duffy and Nick Ambrosini
Valley Strong Credit Union
Valley Strong Credit Union operates 27 branches, serving more than 180,000 individuals, with approximately $2.8 billion in assets. It remains one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in the San Joaquin Valley.
Financial Center Credit Union
Established in 1954 and with approximately $646 million in assets and serving more than 30,000 Members. Financial Center Credit Union is the largest credit union based in San Joaquin County and continues to be voted the best credit union in the area.
Jessica Richardson-Isenegger, Infusion Group
Phone: (734) 552-5192