After a merger earlier this year to expand its presence in the Tampa Bay market in Florida, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union said it wants to go further after announcing its plans to assume the area branches, assets and membership of Space Coast Credit Union.

Subject to regulatory approval, both the $1.6 billion MIDFLORIDA and the $3 billion Space Coast are calling the move a spin-off rather than a merger. If approved, the spin-off is planned to be completed July 1, 2012.

The spin-off would transfer the three Pinellas and three Hillsborough facilities along with their assets, loans, and ATMs in the area, as well as any Space Coast members, in good standing, who live in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Manatee to MIDFLORIDA following an affirmative membership vote, according to both credit unions. In addition, MIDFLORIDA said it plans to retain all existing staff at these locations at the time of the transition.

The acquisition would bring MIDFLORIDA’s Pinellas/Hillsborough/Pasco membership to approximately 35,000 members and boost the area’s branch network to 14 branches, the credit unions said.

“The integration of the Space Coast Credit Union membership is a perfect fit for MIDFLORIDA,” said Kevin Jones, president/CEO of MIDFLORIDA, in a statement.  “The addition of these locations to our network will allow us to fill in the service area in the Tampa market and offer better service and convenience to the combined memberships.”

Space Coast President/CEO Doug Samuels the credit union’s options were to either invest heavily in an expansion of the existing branch network, or to seek a partner who would make a long-term commitment to developing this area.

“This action is the result of our evaluation of SCCU’s ability to serve these members as they deserve,” Samuels said in a statement. “We began considering a spin-off option, but only with a credit union like MIDFLORIDA, who shares our values, is focused on serving the Tampa market, and would take good care of the membership.”

MIDFLORIDA entered the Tampa Bay market earlier this year through a merger with Bay Gulf Credit Union in Tampa. While MIDFLORIDA said it is relatively new to the Tampa area, the credit union noted it has served west central Florida for more than 55 years and is currently the third largest credit union in the greater Tampa Bay area.

Both credit unions plan to host town hall meeting in early 2012 to answer members’ questions. A vote to approve the spin-off is expected to be finalized by March 31, 2012.

Space Coast acquired Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union in June 2009. The financially troubled EEFCU had been operating as a division of Space Coast prior to the official merger. The NCUA placed EEFCU in conservatorship in March 2009 in part due to the credit union’s business and commercial lending losses.