SAN JOSE, Calif. — With a successful data conversion behind it, Meriwest Credit Union said today its merger with Golden Bay FCU produced increases in a number of areas.

Golden Bay's contribution to Meriwest's year end performance was approximately 20% growth in assets, deposits and loans, according to Meriwest. Golden Bay's loan portfolio contained $26 million in sub prime second mortgages which resulted in Meriwest increasing its allowance for loan losses by $9.0 million in December resulting in a loss for 2007, as required under the pooling of interest method for accounting for mergers, Meriwest said. Offsetting this, however, was Golden Bay's $16.6 million of capital adding a net increase of $7.3 million in retained earnings for Meriwest, nearly double the original plan.

"During the later phase of the merger process, Golden Bay was affected by the rapid decline in the housing market which directly affected its subprime portfolio," said Christopher Owen, CEO of Meriwest. "At the end of the day, we increased our business volumes by almost 20%, added nearly 17,000 new members, expanded our branch presence and added $7.3 million to our retained earnings."

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