HAVERHILL, Mass. -- Members of the $97 million Northeast Community Credit Union have approved the merger between their credit union and a local community bank.
Northeast Community, chartered in 1934, will merge with Haverhill Bank, which calls itself the oldest mutual or cooperative bank in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Under the terms of the merger, Haverhill Bank President Thomas R. Faulkner will serve as chairman and chief executive officer and Northeast Community CEO Peter L. Di Benedetto will serve as president and chief operating officer. No layoffs are proposed, and all branches will remain open after the merger, both institutions have said.
Faulkner said savings will come in the areas of information technology, insurance, auditing expense and other operating expenses.
Di Benedetto told Credit Union Times that about 50 members attended the special meeting to consider and finalize voting on the charter change and that about 2,000 of the CU's roughly 9,000 members (22%) cast ballots by mail. Di Benedetto said he did not know the margin of victory for the CU.
"We won the vote," Di Benedetto said, "I don't care about the margins."
The path to the merger would appear clear, but Di Benedetto said they had not set a date to finalize the merger since there was still paperwork and regulations to fulfill with both NCUA and the Division of Banks. "There are still some things we need to do," he said.
Northeast Community and Haverhill Bank announced their intent to merge in July 2007. Since each is a state-chartered institution and would remain such, their merger fell under a little-used part of the state's banking regulations. The credit union held one meeting to get the merger approved according to the state's regulation's in September 2007, but then underwent a modified version of the NCUA's charter-change procedures that concluded with a special Oct. 20 meeting.
Under the terms of the agreement with the NCUA, Northeast sent two notices to members and conducted its mail balloting within the NCUA's procedures. The credit union must also forward the results from its voting to both the NCUA and the Massachusetts Division of Banks.
Haverhill Bank issued a statement about the vote, charter change and potential merger, but Northeast had not as of press time.