MIDFLORIDA Credit Union, which this month is completing conversion of six Tampa-area branches of the $3 billion Space Coast Credit Union it bought last year, announced plans to merge the $46 million Bay Pines FCU of Bay Pines, Fla.
The proposed Bay Pines consolidation by the $1.6 billion Lakeland credit union caps a year of expansion moves including picking up additional branches, also in the Tampa area, of Regions Bank of Birmingham, Ala. plus completing the 2011 merger of troubled Bay Gulf FCU.
Kevin Jones, president/CEO of MIDFLORIDA, said his credit union has enjoyed healthy growth despite low loan rates and tight margins and has managed to successfully add brick and mortar in central Florida.
By yearend MIDFLORIDA expects to have 36 branches including a Plant City facility opening Aug. 1, also taken over from Regions Bank, which found itself in branch overlap following its merger of AmSouth Bank.
Jones said the proposed Bay Pines merger was discussed two years ago with Anthony Dominick, its president/CEO, and only recently was put back on the burner with economic concerns, compliance and product issues coming to the forefront.
Bay Pines, which services a Veterans Administration complex in the community, has about 6,000 members and 7.76% net worth, lost $170,000 in 2011 and was $29,000 in the red for the first quarter.
The Bay Pines merger is subject to member and regulatory approval with a member vote slated in August.
Regarding the Regions branches, including two in Hillsborough, Jones said his credit union was able to put together a good deal with each facility averaging $700,000-$800,000, in good shape and operationally ready. The locations of the former AmSouth facilities have good access and were acquired through contacts made by MIDFLORIDA’s realtor.
Jones said like other credit unions in Florida and elsewhere, “We’re not trying to bring in deposits and while the loan volume has been good and we remain conservative, the very low rates put a squeeze on margins.”
He said also MIDFLORIDA, with 180,000 members and 10% capital, was never hit hard by what he called the first phase of the Florida recession and housing collapse which placed the state in the ”sand state” category.
As the economy tanked, ”we had more of a problem in phase two” but MIDFLORIDA did manage to recover, he said.