Extending its interstate reach into a third state as part of long-term strategy, the $432 million Horizon Credit Union of Spokane Valley, Wash., said it hopes to complete by February a merger with the $63 million Montana First CU of Missoula, Mont.
The merger deal, which has been in the works since earlier this year, would give the central Washington CU entry into five Montana counties. The 16-branch operation already has a presence in the northern panhandle of Idaho.
It is a transaction borne out of what Horizon management contends is a long term plan to expand regionally “in the Cascades where we have the same demographics and cultural fit,” said Jeff Adams, Horizon president/CEO.
Montana First was picked out based on a recommendation of a survey done of potential Northwest CU partners by the Raddon Financial Group of Chicago.
“After we did our due diligence, we agreed that would be a match for us,” Adams said.
With two branches, Montana First has 7,900 members and chartered 80 years ago to serve U.S. Forest Service employees.
The transaction is subject to regulatory and membership approval expected in December.
Adams said the deals does not represent a case of a “troubled credit union” seeking a healthy partner. Instead, he said, Montana First saw the need to provide a broadened product/service package through a larger entity,
Several years ago Horizon had considered a separate FOM expansion on its own into Montana but later abandoned the idea as impractical. But the Montana First transaction “will work well for us,” said Adams.