Credit union mergers don’t always have to be quickie marriages or emotionally driven consolidations.
Just ask Larry Kelly, president/CEO of the $1.3 billion Apple FCU of Fairfax, Va., who detailed a “very methodical and well thought-out process” by a troubled Virginia peer which hired a St. Louis consultant a year ago and came up with 60 prospects as CU suitors.
The consultant’s client, the ailing $186 million Synergy One FCU of Manassas, “definitely was in a stressful situation” and was apparently urged by the NCUA to find a merger partner, said Kelly.
“We were first contacted a year ago by their consultant, FI Strategies of St. Louis, telling us we were on their list,” said Kelly. He said the roster was later whittled down by the consultant and the Synergy One board to a group of about a dozen CUs.
As in other such arrangements, the identity of other Synergy One bidders was not identified, but after analysis was made, the combination of Apple and Synergy looks to be an ideal fit since both CUs serve an education base, Kelly said.
The Synergy One merger permits Apple FCU entry into serving faculty, students and employees of the Prince William County school district.
“We had never heard of FI Strategies but so far the process has worked well,” said Kelly. The firm said its services to CUs and banks include sales/market training and performance/metric advice.
The Synergy One merger with Apple to go into effect in November, said Kelly, “has already received approval from NCUA” as the agency apparently put the consolidation on a fast track under special procedures, said Kelly.
Apple stressed in its press release issued Monday that there would be no layoffs among Synergy One employees agreeing to join the Fairfax CU.