Tuesday's NCUA-engineered takeover of the failed Beehive Credit Union in Utah by a large Texas CU adds a new player to the state's financial landscape "and should be welcomed by Utah consumers."
Moreover, the merger deal for the $145 million Beehive of Salt Lake City by the $6 billion Security Service FCU of San Antonio, now largest in Utah, should strengthen the industry's role against future banker attacks.
Those are the views voiced Thursday by Rick Craig, president/CEO of the $5 billion America First FCU, who told Credit Union Times an anomaly now exists in his state "since now for the first time we have four billion dollar credit unions all with community charters." He was referring to his own CU, which until Tuesday was largest in the state, plus the $2.7 billion Mountain America FCU of West Jordan and the $1.7 billion Chartway FCU of Virginia Beach, Va.
Speaking out on the Beehive merger deal in response to a Times query, the head of America First said the addition of Security, while presenting a competitive challenge, is a positive sign "since they can become an active participant" in the ongoing battle with bankers.
Craig said the bankers "have been silent" for the moment but there is always the prospect of flare-ups following the decade-long and costly court battles over field of membership. In light of its size, adding Security to the fold is welcome, Craig said.
Joining the Utah League of Credit Unions "is something we'd have to look at," said John Worthington, senior vice president at Security. "Right now though we have our hands full," Worthington said, referring to the Beehive transition.
Worthington also said Security has been managing the long ailing Beehive since Oct. 29 under an agreement passed on by state regulators and NCUA. He said he understood there were other bidders for Beehive, "but on that you'll have to ask NCUA."