Underscoring the growing merger trend in the Northwest, two of the Seattle area’s largest credit unions, the $778 million Harborstone of Lakewood and the $241 million Prevail of Seattle, have signed letters of intent for a consolidation, the parties announced Thursday.
Following member and regulatory approval, the merger encompassing 67,000 members and 17 branches could be complete by Jan. 1, said Phil Jones, president/CEO of Harborstone CU, which will retain the brand following the planned merger.
Negotiations on the combination began last January as Prevail management saw the need to enhance its product and service line, Jones said, citing Harborstone’s mobile and text banking products and an emphasis on member business lending.
Having a presence in Seattle, where Prevail has branches, should aid in growing business lending, said Jones.
News of the merger discussions, he said, have been under wraps on purpose “because we did not want a repeat of problems our credit union had several years ago with TwinStar,” in reference to collapse of a planned merger with the Lacey, Wash., credit union.
This time all the advance work on a merger agreement was put in place early, Jones said.
“Maybe it relates to the Northwest association merger with everybody eyeing each other,” he said of the consolidation more than a year ago of the Washington Credit Union Association and the Credit Union Association of Oregon.