Merger

NEFCU/VSECU Merger Update

September 20, 2022

The time has come for Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) to move forward with their membership vote as the next step in the proposed merger process. The vote is very important to the future of both credit unions as it impacts the services we offer members, communities, and our overall position to compete with larger out of state financial institutions that dominate the Vermont market today.

On Tuesday, September 20 VSECU will send qualifying members a formal merger member communication packet that will include information about the merger, a description of voting options, as well as the ballot to vote for, or against the merger. VSECU members will have 45 days after the ballot is mailed to cast their vote. On Tuesday, November 8 the VSECU membership voting will culminate in a Special Meeting where members can meet with VSECU leadership and cast their vote in person. This will be the last date to vote. 

If you are a NEFCU member that is also a member of VSECU we encourage you to participate in the voting process. If you know someone who is a VSECU member – encourage them to also participate.

Sincerely,
John J. Dwyer, Jr.
President and CEO
New England Federal Credit Union


For questions you may have, please see the list of Member FAQs.

  • Will Membership Terms and Conditions change?

    The Credit Unions will combine Policies on January 1, 2023. Membership Agreements will remain independent until operations are integrated. We do not expect any adverse impact to members. We will notify members of material changes in practices on an ongoing basis.

  • What else is changing?

    Banking!  Consumer expectations of banks and credit unions are changing faster than ever. Technology is enabling innovation that consumers are adopting quickly, placing banks and credit unions that don’t evolve at risk. The future of banking already exists with larger bank and innovative financial institutions and financial technology providers like Quicken, Amazon, Apple and Affirm. All of these have vast scale and are constantly adopting financial services. Our credit union needs to keep pace with these changes to stay relevant for current and future generations of members.

  • I don’t care about changes I just want a local branch and basic services.

    We understand that members want stability and predictability and that is one primary reason for this merger. We will always announce changes and impacts well before they occur. And as always, we will be here to address questions and concerns.

  • Will I need new account numbers or to order new checks?

    We don’t anticipate you will need to replace checks. It has not been determined whether account numbers will change.

  • What about online banking?

    We are evaluating NEFCU and VSECU’s systems, including online banking, to determine which represents the best choice to serve members going forward. The decisions will be made this year and implemented next. We will make this and all changes as seamless as possible and with plenty of advance notice.

  • Will my debit/credit card need to be replaced?

    We have not made this decision. If so, we will notify you well beforehand to make sure your spending needs are not interrupted.

  • Who made the decision to Rebrand?

    The boards of both credit unions unanimously approved motions for the adoption of new names. They were provided with data from a brand study that included input from each credit union staff and membership.

  • Rebranding sounds expensive. Why not give that money back to members?

    Rebranding will involve costs and resources. The expenditure will depend on the extent of these efforts, which are currently being investigated. But the value of rebranding cannot be overstated. To grow and prosper It is critical to effectively communicate our value proposition through a new name and brand identity.

  • Why is a merger necessary?

    This is not a required merger or take-over. Both financial institutions are doing well. The board of directors of both institutions believe this is an important opportunity and that combining resources will benefit members and the credit union’s ability to meet the future needs of members.

  • Are you planning to close any branches?

    We are committed to retaining all staff and locations in the communities we currently serve.

  • Will anyone lose their job?

    We expect our members will work with the same people they currently enjoy. No jobs will be lost because of the merger. We both have important jobs we continue to recruit for in our credit unions.

  • Will my products change?

    We are evaluating the products each credit union offers and making integration plans. We expect the range of our product offerings to improve. Some may change but it is too early to communicate this now. We are required to notify members of material changes.

  • Will my accounts be combined?

    No, each account will be maintained when systems are integrated. So, if you have a checking account with NEFCU and one with VSECU, after the merger you will have two checking accounts with NEFCU. They can be combined, at your request, after the merger takes place.

  • What does VSECU do that you do not? Why are they needed?

    VSECU is a strong Vermont based credit union with a 75-year history serving the state. They have developed services, including sustainable energy loans, extensive business services, and checking options that NEFCU does not currently offer. They also have developed strong partnerships, especially in Central and Southern Vermont, that NEFCU does not have and that are important to develop. 

  • Are fees going up?

    We have no plans to change fees because of the merger.

  • I do work for NEFCU as a contractor, is this going to change?

    Over time we will be evaluating vendor relationships. The same people making these decisions now will be involved in these decisions.

  • Will you offer new services?

    We expect to. Each credit union brings a strong suite of products and services that we expect to combine. The combined organization will also have more resources to develop and bring new products and services to market faster that we could have alone.

  • Will my NCUA Insurance coverages change?

    Maybe - The standard coverage is $250,000 per share owner, per insured credit union, for each account ownership category. When the credit unions legally merge, they will become one insured credit union.

  • When can I start doing business with either credit union? Can I use any location or ATM?

    Not until we legally merge. Until this time we are not sharing member information.  After the merger members will be able to use any branch or ATM location.

  • Why do Vermont State members get to vote and we don’t?

    NEFCU is the ongoing legal entity and in this case our regulator (the NCUA) does not require the members of the ongoing credit union to vote.

  • Why is NEFCU the ongoing legal entity?

    This is what the Board of Directors of both credit unions agreed to.

  • Why do they get to decide?

    The board of directors are volunteers elected by members to represent them.

  • What if I object to the merger?

    The merger is not complete until legal documents are signed on a legal merger date. Up until that time both credit unions will be tracking and monitoring member feedback for significant concerns. The Board of Directors and management will consider feedback before executing the final legal documents.

  • You are too big already and this will only make you bigger!

    While we are already the largest financial institution headquartered in Vermont, we are very small compared to regional and national banks and financial service providers within the state. Peoples United has more than $60B in assets (20X our size) and Chase Bank has $2.87T (956 times our size)! We need to be able to deliver many of the things these bigger FIs do to maintain members. 

  • What about 2022 Tax Reporting?

    Members will receive dividend and interest reporting from each credit union for 2022. These will not be combined until fiscal 2023.

  • What will the Field of Membership be for the combined credit union? Who will be able to join?

    Upon regulatory approval of NEFCU’s request to convert to a MCB charter and approval of the merger by VSECU members, the continuing credit union’s resulting Field of Membership (FOM) will allow all Vermont residents to become eligible for membership as well as those associated with specific associations, employer groups, or organizations.

If you have additional questions, please submit the form below.

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NEFCU/VSECU Merger Update – NCUA Approval

September 9, 2022

We are excited to share that the NCUA has approved the New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) merger with Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU). This means the time has come for VSECU to move forward with their membership vote. The vote is very important to the future of both credit unions as it impacts the services we offer members, communities, and our overall position to compete with larger out of state financial institutions that dominate the Vermont market today.

Next Steps and Key Dates

  • On Thursday, September 20 Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU) will send qualifying members a formal merger member communication packet that will include information about the merger, a description of voting options, as well as the ballot to vote for, or against the merger. VSECU members will have 45 days after the ballot is mailed to cast their vote. An independent balloting firm will ensure the election meets confidentiality and Credit Union Bylaw requirements.

         A link to the Ballot Packet is included here

  • On Tuesday, November 8 the VSECU membership voting will culminate in a Special Meeting where members can meet with VSECU leadership and cast their vote in person. This will be the last date to vote. Meanwhile, both VSECU and NEFCU have information about the merger on their websites including answers to frequently asked questions, and the ability to share feedback. Members can also submit comments to share with other members through the NCUA website.

January 1, 2023

Members will continue to use their legacy NEFCU or VSECU products, services, branches, and ATM locations after the close of the merger until a conversion plan is implemented later in 2023. We will notify members of minimal changes required for January 1 after the VSECU member vote is finalized.

Name and Brand

In January, pending VSECU membership approval of the merger, New England Federal Credit Union will be the legal entity. Vermont State Employees Credit Union will become “VSECU, a division of New England Federal Credit Union”

The NEFCU and VSECU Boards have authorized the rebranding of the credit union. The rebranding will take time and include input from staff, members, outside brand experts, and members of the communities we serve. We are early in this process and will make announcements later.

Field of Membership (FOM)

Prior to legal merger NEFCU and VSECU have different charters, bylaws, and rules on who can join. Each credit union has a “Community” charter that makes membership available to most or all Vermonters. VSECU is open to all Vermonters plus certain employer and association groups. NEFCU has 12 of the 14 counties in Vermont plus additional communities we serve in New Hampshire and Michigan. NEFCU has a Federal charter and VSECU has a State, meaning that we operated under different FOM rules.

For the merger to be approved by regulators the charters need to be compatible. After studying all FOM options it was determined that a Federal Multiple Common Bond Charter (FMCB) was the best option. FMCB allows us to focus on one regulator (Federal) rules versus multiple States; to retain key employer groups, like: University of Vermont Health Network, IBM employees, Vermont State Employees and Colleges, and others; AND most importantly to include membership eligibility for all Vermonters and others outside Vermont through co-membership in two national associations: The American Consumer Council (ACC) and the Financial Fitness Association (FFA). This change has been endorsed by both VSECU and NEFCUs boards of directors and will be adopted in a charter bylaw change at or prior to January 1, 2023.

Governance

Upon consummation of the merger the Board of Directors of the continuing credit union will be comprised of eleven members, five of who will be from VSECU and six from NEFCU. The names of the continuing credit union’s executive officers, and their positions is also included in the notice. The current NEFCU CEO, John J. Dwyer Jr will continue as CEO and Rob Miller, CEO of VSECU will become President and Chief Operating Officer.


Merger Update & Rebrand Announcement

August 15, 2022

Merger Update  ̶

The NEFCU/VSECU merger plans continue to progress in the following ways: 

  • We have responded to regulator (NCUA) questions and requirements regarding the Merger Application and Business Plan that was submitted in May. We expect regulatory approval soon.
  • Members’ most frequently asked questions and the answers are posted on both credit unions’ websites: NEFCU.com/merger and VSECU.com/merger.
  • VSECU is preparing for their membership to vote on the merger. They are finalizing their formal merger member communication packet, including a description of voting options and the ballot itself. They will mail this to members after regulatory approval is obtained.
  • VSECU members will have 45 days after the ballot is mailed to vote. The 45-day window will culminate in a Special Meeting, followed soon thereafter by an announcement of the voting outcome. We’re confident VSECU members will recognize the benefit and approve the merger. The proposed merger must pass with an affirmative simple majority of all votes cast by VSECU members.
  • The credit unions will combine as one legal entity (NEFCU) in early 2023 but will not integrate operating systems and products until later next year. We are currently evaluating our integration options to provide the greatest long-term benefits to our members. We will share decisions about our combined systems and products prior to implementing them.

Rebrand Announcement  ̶

NEFCU and VSECU Commit to Rebranding and a New Name as Part of the Merger Process.

New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) and VSECU are excited to announce that after evaluating and assessing each individual brand identity, we will begin rebranding to create a new name for the merged credit union.

The rebrand will coincide with the merger integration process and will help us deepen our partnership and communicate our combined beliefs and principles to our members, communities, and employees. We expect the new brand will take effect after the proposed merger has been approved and the two credit unions are operating as one entity, potentially in late 2023.

We made this decision after careful consideration and with the understanding that members and staff feel an attachment and loyalty to the brand and legacy of their respective credit unions. The primary reason for this decision is to assure members and our workforce that the merged credit union will share a unified mission and vision that incorporates the core values and goals of NEFCU and VSECU.  We see rebranding as an essential step toward the successful integration of two competent credit unions with strong cultures, and will seek input from members, employees, and branding experts.

We are excited to begin this process and identify a new name that reflects our partnership and commitment to our members and communities we serve. We look forward to exploring the many similarities that create cohesion between our brands. We will make every effort to remain true to the spirit of both brands as we create a more unified identity that will support our work together now and in the future.


Merger Update & CEO Video

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.

What’s Next?

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.

Some members are already asking about anticipated changes:

  • Will I need to order new checks?
  • Will my account number change?
  • Will my accounts continue to be insured when I have large deposits at both VSECU and NEFCU?

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.

Better Together: Building a Stronger Co-Op:

Recently, NEFCU John Dwyer joined VSECU Rob Miller to discuss the proposed merger and to speak to questions that members have raised.


Why is NEFCU Merging with VSECU?

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Evolving Marketplace

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.

Outside Competition

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.

Trust an Organic Partnering

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.

Prospering Together 

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.

Investing in Vermont 

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.

Thank you,
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.

Thank you,
John J. Dwyer Jr.
President and CEO
New England Federal Credit Union