HALES CORNER, Wis. – True to its word, Mid-States Corporate FCU is very quickly responding to Corporate Central CU's expansion plans in one of its core states should a planned merger go through. Mid-States Corporate FCU and Minnesota Corporate FCU announced merger plans late last year. Shortly thereafter Corporate Central CU (formerly Wisconsin Corporate Central CU) said it was going to open a business development office in Minnesota to help expand its business with Minnesota credit unions. Mid-States Corporate FCU President/CEO Dave Preter said at the time that it was the board's policy to return aggression if the corporate was aggressed upon. True to that policy, Mid-States is currently seeking a business development professional to cultivate business in Wisconsin, home of Corporate Central CU. "Wisconsin Credit unions have been asking for us to enter the market. They do not seem pleased that their loyalty to the Wisconsin corporate is being paid back by their corporate spending more time out of the state. And, of course we must meet the competitive threat the Wisconsin corporate has launched on our partner, Minnesota Corporate," said Preter. Corporate Central CU President/CEO Mark Schroeder said the move was expected, but questioned whether it's a bit early. "It's a little interesting to me that the merger hasn't even been completed yet, and Mid-States feels aggressed on," said Schroeder. "It does seem to me to be a little bit of jumping the gun, but it's consistent with what Dave has said, and I am sure they are confident the merger will be completed," said Schroeder. Schroeder maintains that Corporate Central CU is trying to grow and thrive, and one way to do that is to pick up new business. He said Minnesota is a natural place for Corporate Central CU to do that, and that the corporate has longtime member CUs from Minnesota. Mid-States is moving full steam ahead with its merger plans. It has sent out letters to CEOs in Minnesota and has held town hall meetings in the state. It has even brought over an exec from Minnesota Corporate. Michael Ensweiler was recently named Mid-States' new VP of Business Development. He was previously VP of Marketing and Business Development at Minnesota Corporate. He spent eight years at Minnesota Corporate. Interestingly, Ensweiler once interned for Mid-States back in the early `90s. Ensweiler said that Mid-States will also open an office in Wisconsin, likely in the Milwaukee or Madison areas. He said Wisconsin CUs are asking to do more business with Mid-States. "We've been contacted by some credit unions who have been pretty loyal to Wisconsin credit unions in the past to see if we can do more business with them," said Ensweiler. Ensweiler said some Wisconsin CUs are disgruntled about Corporate Central CU's interest in Minnesota. "Traditionally the Wisconsin corporate has served solely Wisconsin credit unions. That was one of their true competitive advantages. Now they're diverting some of their attention away," he said. Meanwhile, although Corporate Central CU's plans to open an office in Minnesota hit a stumbling block recently, the corporate says it will find other ways to physically market in Minnesota if it has to. The corporate learned last month that under Minnesota law, a financial institution can not do business in the state unless it carries federal insurance, which Corporate Central CU does not. Schroeder said the corporate is still working with the Minnesota regulator on this issue, and that if the corporate can't open an office it would find other ways to market physically, such as having reps call on Minnesota CUs in person. -


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