Following Oakland Merger, Western Scouting for Municipal CUs
Western Federal Credit Union, having merged this week the failed $88 million Oakland Municipal CU, remains on the lookout for future municipal-based CUs in California "that fit our business model," its top management said.
A year ago the $1.5 billion Western merged the $20 million Channel Islands FCU serving government employees in Oxnard, a Los Angeles suburb, and "so we consider ourselves to retain a business niche in this area," said Christine Klein, executive vice president.
Western, acting at NCUA's behest, took part in a purchase/assumption bidding procedure for Oakland Municipal which had been on a regulatory watch list since early last year.
The P&A transaction represented the first formally announced NCUA deal in 2010. Terms were not disclosed. Oakland Municipal's net worth had dropped to 4.9% in the fourth quarter and its net income dropped sharply.
Klein said NCUA had queried the southern California CU about its interest in bidding on Western "and we said we would take a look and decided it did fit well into our niche of serving municipal employees in Ventura County as well as in the Oakland area where we have a branch in San Bruno."
In a news release citing the culmination of the merger, Western noted that OMCU which served employees for the City and Port of Oakland, the Oakland Housing Authority and AC Transit, "had been struggling financially due to the downturn in the economy and working closely with NCUA and the California Department of Financial Institutions to find a partner."
Klein said Western, which has been healthy during the state's economic crisis, remains diversified in its membership "and we expect to continue so." Drawn from its various mergers and sponsors including TRW, now part of Northrop Grumman, and the defunct Western Airlines, the CU has what she said is a "healthy mix" of members drawn from government, aerospace, automotive and airline industries. Western has more than 127,000 members and 31 branch locations in nine states.