Mergers Move East
For months it has been the sand states getting all the merger attention. But last week’s consolidation move by the $2.6 billion Visions FCU, Endicott, N.Y., to take over the long-ailing $330 million Paragon FCU in New Jersey shifted the merger focus to the Mid-Atlantic.
While the significance of Visions’ first-time expansion into northern New Jersey, highlighted by a bidding procedure begun in April as a result of NCUA prodding could not be understated, there were two more East Coast merger deals unveiled.
Apart from McGraw-Hill and Franklin, however, the consolidation by New York’s Visions FCU of Paragon in New Jersey served up once again the travails of some regional CUs buffeted by the recession and large real estate-related loan losses.
“Yes, they were a CAMEL 4 or 5 credit union, which suffered when the real estate market turned negative,” explained Frank E. Berrish, president/CEO of Visions, which numbered among some 40 CUs across the Northeast which last April received a so-called RFP letter.