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OAKLAND, Calif. – The Chevron credit union “family,” – which once numbered more than 15 across the U.S. – is getting reduced by one. The $870 million ChevronTexaco CU, a single sponsor CU serving petroleum and refinery employees of Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, said it plans to merge with the $20 million Chevron Pascagoula FCU in Mississippi. The merger, set to be completed in 2006, would also cancel one of the nation’s oldest federal charters-No. 7. issued in 1934. The chairman of Chevron Pascagoula, Cathy Campbell, a human relations employee at the Mississippi refinery, said the decision was both an emotional and practical one for her board recognizing that a financially sound small CU “has to serve the needs of its members” with a complete menu, something it has been unable to do. In particular, Chevron Pascagoula was not offering first mortgages as well as some high-tech products and thus, it agreed to join a list of ex-Chevron-linked CUs which over the years have merged into the larger California peer. “You know this was never a case of something we had to do-somebody yelling fire and we had to jump since this is a credit union with an excellent legacy, a CAMEL 1, a tremendous performer over 20 years,” explained Campbell who was asked to give her story to a chapter meeting this month of the Mississippi Credit Union Association. Though the merger plan was first broached by a Pascagoula board member in June, when the final decision was made at a directors’ meeting “it was an incredible, an awesome moment for us all” in giving up something the group has long cherished, an independent CU, said Campbell. Making parallels to politics, she said it was like a lawmaker who after losing knows he or she “has done a great job but now it’s time to go.” The plight of small CUs has in recent months been one of rising concern for state and national trade groups as many state Leagues grapple with trying to find resources for them to stay alive or find partners. One Midwestern League CEO, who asked not to be identified and using pioneer imagery put it this way: “this is such a dilemma-it’s like these credit unions are covered wagons-do we preserve them and while some succeed cross the Rockies, do we let others become endangered and push them over the next hill?” As for Campbell at Chevron Pascagoula, the decision was one “where we couldn’t do the wrong thing” and injure the safety and soundness of the CU. Members might not get all the services they might want “but we could go along just fine as we have before.” But the board felt it had to recognize the CU’s deficiencies for the sake of members and still “make sure a loyal and talented staff” was properly treated. For his part, the president/CEO of ChevronTexaco in Oakland, James Mooney, said he welcomed the Pascagoula addition and lauded Campbell and the Mississippi Board for taking the “strategic” action it did. Calling Pascagoula “a rock solid” institution, he said ChevronTexaco, with 16 locations nationwide, is indeed in a better position to offer a broader product line to the 2,500 members of the Mississippi CU, which according to NCUA records had ranked as the fourth oldest FCU in the U.S. with charters No. 2 and 3 having been merged or liquidated. The oldest is St. Mary’s Bank in Manchester, N.H. Mooney said the Pascagoula merger does fit a pattern over the years of smaller Chevron-tied CUs joining ChevronTexaco. The most recent took place last year when Richmond Standard CU in California was merged into ChevronTexaco. Some Chevron-linked CUs, said Mooney, “have on their own gone community charter and others still retain the Chevron name,” he said. There are Chevron-linked or named CUs in Bakersfield, in Salt Lake City, Houston and in Hawaii. Pat Crawford, manager of Chevron Pascagoula, said she understood the board’s dilemma and she recalls with nostalgia “Jim Mooney inviting us every year to California to participate in those roundtables and I remember maybe 11 or more of us out there.” [email protected]

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