<p>EWING, New Jersey – In what will be the first merger of its kind in the Garden State, New Jersey Department of Transportation Credit Union (NJDOT) (CU Times, Jan. 16), a state-chartered multi-common bond institution, is merging with Parkway Financial Federal Credit Union, which has a community field of membership. Both institutions are located in the township of Ewing, Mercer County, which has a population of 35,000. The merger sets a precedent in the state, paving the way for the other 26 state-chartered credit unions in New Jersey to merge with community-based federal institutions, allowed through the New Jersey Credit Union Advisory Act. "A federal credit union could not have done what we did," says Andrew Jaeger, president of NJDOTCU (he is also chairman of The New Jersey Credit Union Advisory Council, which represents the state chartered credit unions in the state). "A credit union with a federal charter would have had to convert to a community-based federal charter. If it did, it would then be precluded from adding SEGs (select employer groups) outside of its community. "The state legislation allows us to merge in Parkway Financial, service the community and continue to add groups outside of the community," he says. NJDOTCU currently includes the 1,000-member Mercer County Chamber of Commerce as a SEG. The merger, scheduled for completion in March, also makes NJDOTCU the largest state-chartered credit union in New Jersey, with $104 million in assets and 17,200 members. It will add Parkway's $19 million in assets and 5,500 members, to its own assets of $85-million and 11,700 members. Parkway Financial, originally named Trenton Auto Workers Credit Union, was founded in 1948 and had as its members the employees of a General Motors plant in Ewing which closed in the 1990s. According to Elisa Alexeev, general manager of the institution, Parkway was looking for a larger credit union to merge with in order to provide its members with services that it could not afford to offer on its own. This includes Web-based transactions, an ATM machine, debit cards and drive-up teller window. The credit union is not, however, in any financial difficulties. "We are well capitalized," she says, "but the best way to serve our members, we felt, was through merging with a larger institution that was compatible with our own," she says. General manager since 1986, Alexeev will retire when the merger is completed. "I'm looking forward to that," she says, "but there's a lot of work to do in January and February. Our transition teams have a lot more meetings planned." Jaeger says the Division of Banking was instrumental in interpreting state law. "It looked at both federal and state legislation to determine the intent of the New Jersey law. The Division also wanted to make sure there would be no challenges from banks and received approval from the New Jersey Attorney General." According to Bill Hine, spokesperson for the Division of Banking, "the law allowed this merger to take place." He adds, "We are always happy when a federally chartered institution becomes a state-chartered institution." -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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