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COLORADO SPRINGS – Ent Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the state, is getting even bigger. The $1.47 billion credit union has announced a merger with the $77 million First Charter Federal Credit Union of Colorado Springs effective March 3. Members of First Charter approved the merger in December. In a statement, Jeffrey Cumm, president and CEO of First Charter, said his CU “sought out a merger partner to provide broader and better service, both now and in the future.” First Charter with 14,000 members was founded in 1954 with a membership base of District 11 school employees. Ent President/CEO Charles Emmer said his CU is “pleased with the outcome of the First Charter vote,” and that Ent’s experience with a 2001 merger of Mountain Bell Credit Union “makes us confident we can complete this merger with minimal impact on current First Charter members.” Mountain Bell with $45.7 million in assets and 10,000 members was similar in size to First Charter. In April of 2002 Ent also acquired the $9 million Buckley Federal Credit Union of Aurora. The Buckley acquisition was seen as a move by Ent to expand its ties to the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Command since Buckley was located on an Air Force base. Like the Buckley merger, First Charter said it sought a combination with Ent for economic reasons since its management maintained it could not provide a complete menu of services to meet members’ financial needs. With only two offices, Cumm said his CU found it impractical to reach a geographically dispersed membership in metropolitan Denver. “Our membership has moved north and east away from our locations, and we didn’t feel like making the big investment in branch locations,” said Cumm. “The cost of doing business had become too steep and so our board decided to start informal talks looking for a merger partner.” He said the fit with Ent works well “since we both have community charters and they have the resources to do far more than we could.” -

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