Iowa's second largest credit union, the $914 University of Iowa Community CU, is moving ahead this month to merge with the $46 million Best of Iowa Community CU as the Iowa City-based CU seeks a larger footprint in the Cedar Rapids market.
In detailing regulatory applications underway, Jeff Disterhoft, president/CEO of UICCU, said the merger of the two healthy CUs would go a long way toward providing an expanded UICCU reach into a growing area of the state while enhancing member services for Best of Iowa, based in Hiawatha, a Cedar Rapids suburb.
For its part, Stanley Younce, president/CEO of Best of Iowa, said the CU had been exploring a merger with a number of partners since September before the UICCU offer came through and felt "the trend impacting medium sized credit unions in Iowa like ours" was a factor favoring a consolidation.
Large Iowa CUs, like UICCU, seek to expand their presence, said Younce, but medium CUs like Best of Iowa have difficulty being competitive considering the high cost of TV, radio and print advertising.
Disterhoft of UICCU, said the addition of Best of Iowa fits into a long range plan of adding branches in metro Cedar Rapids, and comes as the Iowa City CU has turned aside bids by NCUA to buy struggling CUs, some in the sand states. "Buying troubled assets is not our cup of tea," said Disterhoft stressing it prefers to concentrate on Iowa.
The application for Best of Iowa, said officials, is currently before NCUA and state regulators with a vote by members slated next month and final conversion and name change by July.