With an August target date, two Seattle credit unions, the $228 million Prevail Credit Union and the ailing $32 million Transportation Northwest CU, are preparing to merge, creating a combined CU with a footprint in three metro counties: King, Pierce and Snohobish.
Under a preliminary agreement subject to approval of regulators and members, Transportation Northwest will retain its name as a division of Prevail, which once consolidated. will have 22,500 members and 10 branches.
Transportation had large losses in its real estate portfolio in 2009 and a 14% delinquency rate and approached Prevail as a potential partner last February, said Thomas Graves, president/CEO of Prevail.
For its part, Prevail, while also suffering an $800,000 loss in 2009 related to the NCUA assessment and corporate capital write-downs but with positive core earnings, sees expansion opportunities for the combined CUs, said Graves.
"Retaining the Transportation Northwest name is a new strategic direction for the combined credit union once the merger is approved," explained Graves. Transportation already enjoys strong brand recognition and so management sees no need to change it unless conditions prove otherwise, he added.
This is the second merger for Prevail in 2010. Last January, Prevail merged with the $3 million Transport FCU.
Graves said he has no plans to lay off employees."This is not the kind of merger where we toss staff under the bus," he said.