Following First Edition Merger, Arizona's Vantage on Lookout
With a long-troubled Phoenix credit union now officially under its belt, southern Arizona's largest credit union, the $1.1 billion Vantage West of Tucson remains on the lookout for more merger prospects under NCUA bidding procedures, its president/CEO said Wednesday.
"Yes, we have been approached by the NCUA on a number of credit unions but I can't tell you anymore," declared Robert D. Ramirez, the head of Vantage West, which he said has remained profitable, lean "and frugal during the Arizona recession.
Effective today, Vantage West merged the $40 million First Edition Community CU of Phoenix serving 5,500 members, many of whom are employed by the Arizona Republic, the state's largest newspaper which since 2008 has seen its share of wide scale layoffs. The merger with Vantage West is due for final completion Aug. 1 following computer conversion.
Talks on merging First Edition into Vantage had been ongoing for a year, said Ramirez, who also is vice chairman of the Arizona Credit Union League, a director of the Credit Union Executives Society and of FirstCorp, the Phoenix corporate.
Vantage West, said Ramirez, has looked at several of the Arizona CU candidates considered for merger being shopped by the NCUA "but there is nothing I can say." He did acknowledge that Phoenix with its burst housing bubble has suffered far worse than Tucson where unemployment remains at 9%.