Thursday, May 5, 2022
A merger application was filed with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) on Monday, April 25th. Review and approval are expected to take 3-6 months. The application described due diligence NEFCU and VSECU performed before each board of directors approved the intent to merge. It also outlined a high-level business plan that explains benefits of the merger to members; the senior leadership team composition; and financial pro-formas for the combined organization.
After the NCUA completes its review and “approves” the merger, the next step will be for VSECU to notify members of a Special Meeting and provide ballots to vote for or against the merger. We expect this will happen in the fall. If the merger is approved by VSECU members, the credit unions will combine as one legal entity, likely in early winter. NEFCU members are not required to vote as the combined legal entity will continue as New England Federal Credit Union.
The answer is that members can expect some change, but it is too soon to tell you what these may be. Most member facing changes would likely occur later in 2023 as the technology platforms are integrated. Both credit unions are committed to making any change as seamless and transparent as possible to both members and staff.
The process of integrating two credit unions is complex. We have established internal teams that are evaluating each credit union’s products and services; policies and procedures; and business plans and priorities. The evaluation also includes a formal assessment of whether the combined credit union should maintain the New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) name. We are utilizing advisory and consulting services for overall integration planning, technology system evaluation, and brand assessment.
We appreciate member and staff patience as we evaluate the integration. We are committed to only make changes that are in the best long-term interest of those affected. We will notify those impacted as soon as decisions are made, with sufficient time to adjust, and with minimal impact or requirements.
Recently, NEFCU John Dwyer joined VSECU Rob Miller to discuss the proposed merger and to speak to questions that members have raised.
Thursday, March 31, 2022
The financial services industry is evolving at an extreme pace. Five years ago, it was relatively easy to stay competitive with a collection of traditional offerings. These included a branch close to home or office, a call center, online banking, and a few convenient ATMs. Competitive pricing and friendly, trustworthy staff rounded out the mix. However, while once sufficient, these basic services are no longer enough.
Modern mobile technology has generated an exploding demand for new products and services. To capitalize on this trend, big technology companies are partnering with large national banks or financial service providers, investing billions to deliver products and services from outside of Vermont. Unfortunately, the strategy is working. Our state’s rural nature and declining population growth make it difficult for independent institutions to compete. Smaller banks and credit unions are losing market share, and NEFCU’s member growth has slowed in recent years.
There are many examples of financial service innovation that are putting pressure on community banks and credit unions. NEFCU thus far has met the challenge of these new market demands. But we would not serve present and future members well if we did not tell you that the increasing pace requires significant investments. These in turn drive the need to seek new tools and partnerships to remain competitive. The merger with VSECU is just such an organic partnering, combining the best of both credit unions to create significant, lasting benefit for members, employees, and communities. The merger does not need our members’ votes because NEFCU is the “continuing” credit union. But it will require patience and trust in the leadership which has rewarded that trust, year after year, by making NEFCU Vermont’s leading and largest credit union.
The proposed merger’s direct benefits include VSECU products and services that synergistically complement NEFCU’s existing array: nine additional branch locations, a comprehensive energy-efficiency program, and a more robust range of business services, including merchant and payroll services. These additions would require multiple millions of dollars of investments by NEFCU independently. With a combined membership and market penetration, we will be able to better serve smaller market segments and communities.
We are aware of objections to the merger organized by former VSECU executive leadership. We believe that this group does not recognize the threats which Vermont’s banks or credit unions face if they are unwilling to undertake strategic partnerships such as the proposed merger, which will allow us to meet these threats and challenges by investing and competing within Vermont.
We deeply appreciate our members’ loyalty and trust, and highly value input about the quality of our existing services and those we commit to in the future.
John J. Dwyer Jr.
President & CEO
New England Federal Credit Union
On February 16, 2022, your Board of Directors and those from Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) unanimously agreed to file a merger application with our regulator, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This vote followed extensive due diligence performed by each credit union.
The planned merger is contingent on regulatory approval by the NCUA, which is expected to take three to five months. Following that, an affirmative majority vote by members of VSECU is also required. Pending both approvals, in late 2022 or early 2023, the credit unions will merge under the legal entity of New England Federal Credit Union.
The boards have agreed on a new governance structure. I will remain as Chief Executive Officer and Rob Miller from VSECU will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer. We have also agreed to retain all employees.
Our two credit unions share the essential core value of enhancing members’ prosperity. We firmly believe that combining resources will help accomplish this by elevating the level of service we provide to you. In addition, the merger will give statewide access to our integrated branch network, as well as to VSECU’s successful sustainable energy loans and other offerings. Importantly, combining will better enable us to introduce new services that we believe members will demand in the future. Doing so will help us compete effectively with the larger banks that exist here or are moving into the Vermont market. And we will remain a Vermont-based, member-owned cooperative!
We do not expect that you will see any changes for several months. NCUA insurance coverage rules remain unchanged for those who are members of both credit unions until the merger is complete. As we plan our future integration, we will communicate how this may impact you.
We are strongly committed to make any changes as seamlessly as possible and to the ultimate purpose of delivering the greatest value to you in reaching your financial goals. We welcome your questions and will answer specific inquiries on our website, NEFCU.com, or in our Call Center at 800.400.8790.
John J. Dwyer Jr.
President and CEO
New England Federal Credit Union