A Member and a CEO React to Merger Events

A member of Xceed found my post from 2020 on that credit union’s merger with Kinecta.

Reading the analysis from Should a CEO’s Last Act Be Merger, he posted a comment:

Thank you for your article.  It is right on point.  As a member of XFCU since 1982, I have seen this organization decline at an alarming rate.  Now that that the merger has taken place, I am still waiting to see the additional value I am to receive from this merger.  XFCU began its fall when it closed the Texas operations.  Today, we have no personal service, personal bankers, investment opportunity, or competitive products.  Teresa Freeborn has been the only person who benefited from the merger.  I voted against the merger since I believe she participated in the merger with a conflict of interest.  

I submitted questions to her on service to members not on the East or West Coast.  This merger has so far shown me no benefit.  I moved my business account to BOA.  As other investments matured, I moved them to Fidelity and Merrill Edge.   As a 40-year customer, I expect to move all accounts by the end of the year to BOA.  Communication is terrible.  The XFCU Officers and Board have failed all members of this organization.

In October, prior to the merger vote, he sent Xceed an email asking for more information:

Subject: XFCU / Service to Members outside of California and New York

Good Morning:

Member since 1981.  Since closing the Texas Branch, service and communication has gone down to a level that I now question whether XFCU remains an option for me.  What services will be available to me in Texas through any CU affiliations that allows me to make deposits, withdrawals locally if needed. 

I was never advised of this merger and am a very disappointed longtime customer.

Thank you,

He told me: “I never got a response.”

When I asked what his credit union experience had been he wrote:

I am a retired Insurance Executive who worked for Crum & Forster Insurance acquired by Xerox in 1980’s.  I was recently a Senior Vice President at McGriff, a BB&T Company, now Truist.   

During my working career, XFCU was an important part of my personal financial success.  I bought several homes and cars.  Today, if I needed financial help, I wouldn’t know where to start at XFCU.  I don’t recommend CU to my kids any longer as I question their viability in today’s economic challenges.

Xceed’s First Quarter Financial Results

The combination with Kinecta had not been completed as of the March 31, 2021 call report.

In the first three months Xceed reported the following:  a loss of $2.1 million (ROA of  -.87), a 22% drop in loans ($146 million), 11% share growth, 112% operating expense/total income ratio, net worth of 11%, a 9.2% decline in members and 19% fewer employees (35 out of 185 have left) both compared with one year earlier. The writer is not alone in seeing difficulty.

Kinecta reports positive ROA of .70% and a net worth of 7.8% in the same first quarter.

One observer commented on the two credit union’s longer term track records: “it looks like two rocks  being tied together and tossed into a lake to see if they can float.”

But the members are already bailing out.   Unfortunately, it is they who will suffer the loss of value as the writer detailed in his experience above.

A Different Decision: A CEO Closes a Merger Conversation

In talking with a CEO of a $2.0 billion credit union, I asked if he had ever discussed a merger, especially with a much larger firm in his market area.  The two were intertwined and competed directly.

He said yes, the topic had come up.  Both had grown at the same rate, both had sound performance.   But he didn’t pursue the option.

This non-merger had produced a very beneficial result.  In his assessment: “Our competition keeps the entire market for consumers honest because we price against each other.”

In this case two separate, strong, competing credit unions are helping all consumers “stay afloat.”

Do Small Credit Unions Matter?  Should They?  Will They?

In March 2014 before Jim Blaine laid down his sword, err pen, he wrote about the demise of small credit unions.  In the blog Clubbing Baby Seals, he used numbers to describe this decline concluding: “We’re in the midst of a “CU ecological” meltdown.” And the cooperative climate has only gotten hotter since.

The Less than $10 Million Segment Trends

The starting point in Jim’s analysis was ten years earlier in 2004 when there were 4,255 credit unions under $10 million.  At his writing, the total had fallen by half.  I updated his numbers for the most recent decade, 2010 through 2020, which show a continuing decline of the under $10 million segment from 2,908 (41% of cu’s) to 1,179 (23% of cu’s)—a 60% drop.

Many would react to these trends with a shrug: “They are what they are. This is just the marketplace at work.  These credit unions often underperform industry averages, do not provide a wide range of services, and members can find better deals elsewhere.  Besides larger credit unions continue to add members and grow. These organizations are not significant to carrying out the cooperative mission.”

Why Credit Unions Should Be Concerned With this Trend

This trend matters because of its impact on the system’s future  in two respects.

  1. All credit unions start small. Every credit union operating today was organized with assets in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.  From these small seeds large oaks can grow.  While all credit unions under $100 million show declines in charter numbers, segments above this amount have added 351 to their number in the same decade.  All emerged from the smaller asset segments. For the largest category, greater than $1 billion in assets, the count has gone from 167 in 2010, to more than 375 today.  Without seeds, the system will eventually run out of crops to harvest.
  2. The traditional interpretation of the decline is incomplete. Credit unions from the very beginning have started and then faltered.  Most that do not sustain operations are small.  Since FOM changes in the 1980’s, the vast majority of closed charters merge with other credit unions.

In 1978 when NCUA published the ratio for the FCU survival rate–number of active charters divided by number of charters issued–the percentage was 55%.   That was after 44 years of operations.

Today that ratio is 13%. (3,185 active/24,925 FCU’s chartered).  However, the reason for this dramatic decline in sustainability is not that small credit unions cannot survive.

The Federal Regulator’s About Face

In every year beginning in 1934 (except three war years) until 1971, the number of new FCU charters granted always exceeded the number cancelled.  In that year, FCU’s were required to qualify for NCUSIF insurance.  In 1978 NCUA became an independent agency.

In the same length of 44 years of NCUA’s oversight, the number of cancelled charters has exceeded new startups every year.  The loss of just federal charters during NCUA’s  tenure as an independent agency totals 9,865—from 13,050 (in 1978) to 3,185 (2020).

The primary reason for the decline of almost 10,000 active federal credit unions is that new charters have become virtually impossible to attain. They have averaged fewer than 10 per year in this century, and only 2.5 in the last decade.

The possibility for groups of citizens to form and control their own democratically governed financial entity has been effectively extinguished by the very organization charged with overseeing the cooperative system’s safety and soundness.

So What?

With new entrants effectively turned away, the industry’s structure will inevitably become more  consolidated in much larger credit unions. The diversity in credit union charter size is being eliminated.

Some would opine, “so what?”   Members continue to join, and the industry is financially strong and independent of sponsors. This is the natural outcome of any business in a competitive market economy.

Punching Above Their Weight

Blaine’s concern about the demise of smaller credit unions was summarized as:  Small credit unions “punch well above their weight” in terms of member impact and community importance.  Every credit union was created for a purpose, rarely did that original purpose have anything to do with ‘growth’”. 

He calls out the organizing motivations for a cooperative charter: persons with a common interest getting together to improve their local circumstances and opportunity.  Members then and today care most about the service they receive.

A credit union’s asset ranking, number of branches, surcharge free ATM’s or even its multiple channels do not create loyalty if an institution cannot respond to individual and local circumstances. That is the key factor in small credit union success.

The Democratization of Financial Opportunity

Credit unions’ democratic character was created from a fabric of relationships and community support.  These local origins were their source of political support.  Even though banks have opposed credit unions from the beginning, they have been unable to block their efforts to expand member services.

“Punching above their weight” is illustrated most recently by the quickness of Congress to overturn the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Federal Credit Union act in 1998 limiting common bond to a single group.  In just months, the Credit Union Membership Access Act was passed approving the  field of membership interpretation NCUA authored in 1983.

But that success was over two decades ago.  Do credit unions conceived  in earlier eras still have the same political weight today?  Have the growth ambitions of some  via “voluntary” mergers and bank purchases raised issues of both member and public support for a less distinctive cooperative charter?

Can Small be Big Again?

I do not know what the future will bring.   Will ever-larger credit unions be increasingly viewed as just another impersonal financial option, like a bank?  Will the tax exemption survive the expansions of markets and scattering of local attention and knowledge?

Will the goodwill so critical in any industry’s ongoing success wither away as the seed corn for its future is no longer replenished? Or will credit union leaders see this declining trend as a priority and provide support comparable to the $100 million goal of CUNA’s Open Your Eyes marketing campaign?

Renewal efforts are underway. Can the initiatives to repurpose charters with new human capital be proven out?  Will the efforts to create more service center options via CUSO’s succeed?  Can the charter process be assigned to the regions so applicants are supported positively and quickly?

Two factors suggest this trend can be addressed.  The places of economic disparities and need are as numerous now as any time in our history.  The human spirit of solving problems and the values of cooperatives align with many seeking to bring change for a more equitable America.




A Memorial Day Question

For two decades as a member of the National Men’s Chorus I participated in the final concert of the season on Memorial Day weekend.

The annual program might be modified to recognize an anniversary such as VE day or a Civil War commemoration.  However, most of the repertoire was arranged from popular melodies from the Revolutionary War era through the Vietnam conflict.

These songs, from Columbia Gem of the Ocean to The Ballad of the Green Berets, inspired and reminded listeners of the precious heritage that military conflicts have gained for all Americans.

This respect is especially evident during The Service Medley, as members of each military branch stand and honored as their song is sung.

One of the most uplifting moments in the program is  The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Written by Julia Ward Howe in 1861, it is sometimes called America’s second national anthem.

One writer described it as “a warrior’s cry and a call to arms. Its vivid portrait of sacred violence captures how Americans fight wars, from the minié balls of the Civil War to the shock and awe of Iraq.  America’s song of itself-how the country feels about war.”

As a call to duty, it has inspired suffragists and labor organizers, civil rights leaders, and novelists—like John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.

A  New Meaning with Another Word

Her poem’s first verse certainly evokes the fury and righteousness of war: (original spelling)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trapling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He haved loosed the faiteful lightening of his terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on

The final verse call all to sacrifice in this sacred duty:

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me
As he died to make men holy let us die to make men free
His truth is marching on

But Is Sacrifice the Intent?

My first wife. Mary Ann, died in 1984.  In a Memorial Day church service earlier that decade, this Hymn was included.  Except the line in the final verse was changed to, As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free. For her that was the meaning of Memorial Day. We honor those who die by how we serve the living.

 Which word best fits America today?  What is our call to duty?  Are we to remember just the increasingly small percentage of American families that serve and die in the military?  Or might there be a more all-encompassing obligation to “truth marching on?”

A Contemporary Interpretation

After the Civil War, Juliet Ward Howe became active in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1868, she founded the New England Women’s Club and was one of the founders of the New England Women’s Suffrage Association. Her sense of duty was not limited to sacrifices in war.  She was motivated by a broader view of “civic virtue.”

Would she approve replacing the word die with live?   And what would that communicate to today’s listeners and singers?

The Battle Hymn of the Republic reminds us of the sacred (hymn) call (battle) that sustains our country (the republic).   Its spirit, I believe, calls forth the responsibility of every citizen to sustain the country’s evolving experience of freedom, which we call democracy.

Relevance for Credit Unions

But what does this have to do with how we carry out our roles in the credit union system?

The Friday before this Memorial Day weekend I received an email from a colleague which said simply:  “This is wild” and included a link to an article in CUToday:

The story summarized the intent of fifteen credit unions operating for generations to merge.  In some cases, the arrangers of these transactions would receive increased compensation from the event.

What did the sender mean by This is Wild?  While I do not know what the words intended, I suspect they reflect a deep concern with this wholesale abandonment of legacies of efforts and resources created by previous members and their leaders.

Those credit union ancestors paid forward the fruits of their labor so the current generation might prosper and build on their efforts.  Instead, these leaders chose to hand over their members and inheritance to another, unrelated organization.

Howe’s third verse describes judgment:

He has sounded forth the trumpet
That shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men
Before His judgement seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him;
Be jubilant, my feet                                                                 
His truth is marching on

I believe the writer’s email reaction is raising this ultimate question of values: Can a democratic credit union financial system survive when leaders so easily lose the will and inspiration to continue?  In the future, will any cooperative “truth be marching on”?

Version 2.0

Here is Mary Ann’s preferred wording of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Voting: “The Most Hallowed Act in a Democracy”

A vital aspect of cooperative design is democratic member ownership.   Each member has one vote, regardless of share or borrowing relationships; proxies are not allowed for federal charters. This governance and accountability dynamic is both a moral and an organizational imperative.

Democracy is not merely a set of bylaws, or regulations or another organizing concept.  Rather it is the interactions developed between leaders and their constituents. Member involvement is more than a democratic cooperative value; it is the essential good will on which all credit unions rely replacing startup capital from the beginning.

Voting is the practice that enshrines and enables democratic organizations to legitimize leaders’ decisions.

Voting is Front Page Today

Voting is a front-page story across the country today. State legislatures have initiated changes to restrict voting access in response to the Big Lie of a stolen 2020 Presidential election.  Last week the spotlight turned to Georgia where the governor signed a law that would  prevent water being given to voters standing in line.

Public outrage has grown as evidence suggests that a purpose is to limit voting access in specific segments of the community.

The CEO’s  of Delta Airlines and Coca Cola, whose world headquarters are in Georgia, published strong statements opposing efforts to roll back voting opportunity.

Darren Walker the CEO of the Ford Foundation on NPR explained this change in the traditional low profile corporate leaders prefer on matters of public controversy.

“Voting is the most hallowed, important and sacred act in a democracy that its citizens exercise.”  He continued: “They (the two CEO’s) stood up when it mattered. We hope we can mobilize courageous CEO’s and companies across America willing to stand for American values.”

The State of Member Voting in Credit Unions

There are two occasions when members exercise their democratic role by voting:

  1. The election of directors at the required annual meeting of members;
  2. The voluntary merger of their credit union with another.

I think in both instances the vast majority of credit union practice is not “democratic” in any meaningful sense of the term. Some failures are the result of poor organizational habits, others by deliberate design.

The Members’ Annual Meeting

Recently I received the required Notice of the annual meeting from my credit union. It read in part:

Here’s the good news about our Annual meeting: There’s nothing you need to do. . .sharing this (Notice) is a legal requirement. . .Questions will not be taken during the meeting. . .there is no new business to discuss. . . only matter requiring a vote of members is approval of the 2020 Annual Meeting minutes. . .directors nominated (3)will be approved by acclamation of the Board. . .And this closing comment: We’re in this together. . .Our commitment to improving our members’ experience remains at the heart of what we do.   Signed:  President/CEO

This is not an invitation to participate, vote or become better informed about the cooperative the members allegedly own.  Instead, members should stand aside. Even the required meeting notice is portrayed as just a legal disclosure, like the rate on a loan or savings account.

The problem is deeper than this caricature of democratic governance.  The fundamental strength of credit unions is their member relationship. Member loyalty, initially via a common bond, and subsequently, lifelong patronage, created the credit union that exists today.

Sustaining these core relationships is essential for credit union success.

Members instinctively understand that the cooperative model is supposed to be different even if they cannot provide a precise legal distinction.  Treating members just like customers of a bank forfeits the most important advantage of credit unions in a market economy: the user and owner are one and the same.

Some credit unions use the annual meeting as a daylong opportunity to go beyond the legal formalities by providing workshops on member financial issues.  Sometimes the event is capped by a meal or with an outside speaker to celebrate the success of past year.

If credit union leaders fail to respect their member-owners’ role in this annual event, will members respond when leaders ask them to stand up for an issue needing their support?

Voting in Mergers: A Case Study

All voluntary mergers of sound credit unions require a majority of members voting to be approved.  This critical requirement is often treated as an administrative exercise with boards routinely encouraging members to sign off on the enclosed ballot.  Rarely do vote totals exceed single digits in this required member approval to give up a charter.

The merger Special Meeting Notice frequently lacks any specific data for members to compare their current situation with future promises. The reasons cited are general: “an expanded network of branches,” “improved operational efficiency,” “ the possibility of better rates on loans and shares,” and “we believe we should provide even better service due to additional investments in talent, technology and new products.”

The above are the verbatim explanations in a 2020 member merger Notice.  The vote in this merger, as certified by the Board Chair and Secretary, was 32,494 in favor and 0 opposed.  NCUA’s Director of Supervision for the Western Region acknowledged receipt of this certification and formally approved the combination effective June 1, 2020.

This merger of the $867 million Andigo Credit Union into Consumers Cooperative gave the members’ collective reserve of $107 million (12% net worth) to the continuing credit union.  No member dividend; only  vague promises.

However, Andigo’s senior managers were all given continued employment contracts from two to five years. Their compensation over and above what they were earning includes:

CEO: $226K in early payouts of deferred compensation plus $357K in higher bonus;CFO:  $150K higher; CLO: $165K higher; COO: $167K higher: VP Business Services: $74K higher.

This façade of members’ having voted approval is a perversion of democracy.  The members were provided no reasons supported by data.  No plan.  The process is ripe with conflict-of-interest.  It is an abdication by those with fiduciary responsibility covering up blatant self-dealing.  A scheme of enrichment and a moral swamp blessed by NCUA.

A Challenge to the Integrity of the Cooperative System

Every institution, every system, every country that follows a democratic model faces the challenge of constant renewal.  Democracy at any level of society is not self-perpetuating.  Leaders and circumstances change. Commitment to self-rule requires constant practice and vigilance.

The ever-present temptation for those in authority to exploit their current position for self-advantage is a facet of human character.  A credit union’s legacy bequeathed through generations of member loyalty is wiped out in an instant by self-serving leadership.

Two decades ago, the charlatans of Wall Street were proclaiming the need for credit unions to convert to mutual, and possibly, bank charters.  They asserted the credit union model was an anchor slowing growth and opportunity.  Almost three dozen credit unions took the bait.  Today, only one survives as a mutual.

Two outspoken credit union CEO’s led the fight against these false prophets of doom.  Bucky Sebastian and Jim Blaine did not win every fight; they were even sued for their cooperative gallantry.  But they had the courage to speak out and act when others were reluctant to challenge peer CEO’s.

Their efforts emboldened others who wanted to do the right thing.  However, the reality then is the same now. “The incentive today for corporate leaders in America discourages courage,” explained Darren Walker in his NPR interview on the reluctance of business CEO’s to speak out.

Next Steps

To address these patterns of democratic failure will require CEO’s, directors and leaders to assess their own practices of member governance.  Is the annual meeting just a perfunctory chore or is it a chance to renew and honor the member-owners’ role?

Mergers should be based on facts and logic with a documented plan, not rhetoric and vacuous future promises.  Every other area of credit union oversight needing regulatory approval (alternative capital, derivative authority, FOM changes, et al) requires more documentation than the decision to give up a sound charter via merger.

The century-long evolution of the cooperative credit union system in the midst of an economy driven by competition and private ownership is a remarkable accomplishment. To paraphrase Albert Einstein when asked about religious belief, “it is not that one thing is a miracle but that the whole thing is a miracle.”

To see this miracle of human and community enterprise crumble piece by piece through self-destruction is a tragedy.  One that only today’s leaders can reverse.






An Open Secret: NCUA, Oxymorons and Merger Truths

An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two seemingly contradictory terms are used together.  Sometimes the intent is literary, as in “deafening silence.”  Sometimes the purpose is  ironic juxtaposition—“postal service” or “jumbo shrimp” –to highlight conflicting concepts.

I propose a new example Truth in Mergers.  This is a 25-page NCUA publication from May 2014. The subtitle: A guide for merging credit unions.

This document was prepared by NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI). The preface lists three purposes:

■ Understand trends in credit union mergers.

■ Determine when a merger is in (a credit union’s) best interest or, in the worst case, necessary to continue operations.

■ Negotiate a merger agreement that best serves the merging credit union’s interests.

OSCUI’s mission statement read: We support the success of small credit unions … (and) recognize the unique role small, low-income designated and new credit unions play in the lives of their members and communities. We are committed to helping these credit unions not only survive but thrive.

 The “truth” is that the brochure was to facilitate the demise of smaller credit unions.

 Oxymorons can assist the reader to clarify NCUA’s doublespeak. After each of the following verbatim excerpts, I have provided this figure of speech to aid in interpretation.

Statements from “Truth in Mergers”

  • Mergers between credit unions are commonplace in the industry today. (old news)
  • like all businesses and institutions, mergers can be successful or unsuccessful. (even odds)
  • NCUA does not endorse mergers. (seriously funny)
  • mergers undertaken proactively by credit unions in sound financial condition have better outcomes for the credit unions involved and their members. (alone together)
  • many credit unions wait until they are in a troubled financial position before exploring the option to merge. (definite possibility)
  • Weak Financial Condition Drives Most Credit Union Mergers (deliberate mistakes)
  • A merger can also provide direct benefits to credit union members, including lower cost of services, lower loan rates, and higher dividends. These benefits are significant, immediate, and persistent. (true lies)
  • Negotiating the terms of the merger contract is one way a merging credit union can realize the greatest benefits of the transaction. (bittersweet)
  • OSCUI’s study of merger packages also demonstrated a clear link between a merging credit union’s financial strength and its ability to negotiate advantageously with the continuing credit union. (strength in weakness)
  • Best Practices: Shop around for the best fit. Merging credit unions should seek out and evaluate multiple potential partners and critically evaluate major issues, such as: organizational culture, mission statements, and respective memberships. (act naturally)
  • Include a merger in the strategic planning process. Credit unions are encouraged to consider the impact of a merger as part of the strategic planning process. (definite possibility)
  • Develop a succession plan for executives and board members. Avoid letting the board and the CEO grow old together. (open secret)
  • Merger contracts can be negotiated to ensure that the merging credit union’s members, staff, and community continue to be served. (true myth)
  • Take measures to enforce the merger agreement. How can merger agreement provisions be enforced when one party to the agreement no longer exists?

NCUA’s Office of General Counsel suggests that a merging credit union name in the contract the third-party beneficiaries with standing to enforce the contract. For example, if the continuing credit union agrees to keep a branch open for at least one year, the agreement would note that the members of the discontinuing credit union are beneficiaries with standing. Because these matters would fall under state contract law, the wording should be state specific. (clearly confused)

The Almost Final Word

“This brochure has been prepared by NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) as a resource to help credit unions.


The truth: this Office of Small Credit Union’s initiative was intended to phase out small credit unions.  Those with problems-for sure.  Those in sound financial condition-in due course.

And Consequences

This  “small credit union” endeavor gave the green light for all credit unions to seek merger opportunities.  No matter the size, circumstance, proximity or business logic.  It began an open season for self-dealing. CEO’s saw the opportunities to cash out at their retirement; long standing member loyalties were  squandered, and a binge of back room deals by leaders of sound local credit unions was officially sanctioned.

The challenge for Chairman Harper and the board: is there a CURE for this official document issued while he was senior policy advisor to Chairman Matz?

To keep mergers in perspective we give the last word to capitalist Henry Ford:  “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”




Readers Opine On Infinity FCU Merger with Deere Employees

Readers reacted to last week’s analysis of the Infinity combination with Deere.

A Maine resident: “Very strange indeed – for many reasons; it goes completely against the Maine community approach of being a state with their own mind and will.”

Two comments posted on blog site:

1. Why, why, why? I can’t make any sense of what Liz is saying. . .Wonder what NCUA CURE will have to say?

2. Size matters to Liz and not a single Maine CU wanted to merge with her.

A Financial Consultant to Banks and Credit Unions:

  1. At $341 million, there is enough “scale” to not just survive but thrive. It’s a matter of allocation of resources. I work with a lot of community banks that are doing just fine at that asset size; quietly going about their business producing a good ROA and accreting capital. Relationships drive their business model and that’s what the competitors don’t provide.
  2. The board needs to be committed to independence. The board needs just one member who understands this, is committed to it, and can influence the other board members.
  3. The CEO and leadership team need to be committed to independence. . . there needs to be something holding the team accountable. If there is a merger, capital should be returned to members, not given to acquiring institution for free.
  4. This is a horribly unproductive credit union. The leadership team needs a kick in the pants in terms how they are deploying the resources the members entrusted them with.
  5. The banker in me says this would be an ideal takeover target. They have a great balance sheet. I’d cut out a lot of expense, and turn this into a money-making machine for CU purposes. It would mean being a lot more productive, and use the capital for growth, member give-back and/or community impact.

The CEO is speaking out of both sides of her mouth. What is the board’s relationship with the CEO if unable to do the job to begin with? Are they competent to govern?

A Coincidence? Two Credit Unions Rethink: Maine Credit Unions Call off Merger- Consolidation discussions end amicably between Midcoast FCU and Maine State CU. March 26, 2021 CU Times.

From a Member Who Just Experienced a Merger:

Just touching base after reading this article about Infinity and Deere. Sounds so much like my member story with Xceed merging with Kinecta.

On March 17th Kinecta FCU sent me a similar packet with a Cover Letter highlighting 3 big changes, a joke. The number 1 bit of news is Reducing of the Insufficient/Uncollected Funds Fee from $27 to $25! Its borderline insulting to think longtime members of a well-run credit union would jump for joy on that news. 

Chase Bank is offering a $200 to new customers and free checking with direct deposit. My folks have used Chase since it was called Chase Manhattan Bank, I think since the 60’s. They have been happy with Chase for 50 some years. 

It seems like credit union mergers have become so common it might happen to a person more than once. It’s like opening a new bank account, changing direct deposits, automatic bill payments and so on. I keep my credit reports locked so unlocking them is an added step. 

Its kind of sad but I’ll miss banking with the same place for so long. I remember when working for USAA after leaving Xerox in the 1990s. Xerox FCU still had a small two-person branch in Clearwater, FL for a few thousand Xerox employees/families in the Tampa Bay area. How many financial institutions today would go the distance to have a two-person branch? I think with all the mergers the days of that kind of a credit union operation are coming to an end.

Rather than go kicking and screaming into the Continuing Credit Union Kinecta, I’ll quietly leave my employer created credit union of 30+ years for my family’s national bank. And $200. 

An Historical Perspective:

“All things are lawful, but not all things are beautiful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.”