Southwest Michigan is winding up 2011 with completion of one credit union merger, Kellogg Community FCU of Battle Creek with St. Joseph Valley in Three Rivers, and a second one, Honor CU of St. Joseph with Allegis of Kalamazoo winning membership approval.

Both consolidations represent the continued emergence of regional CUs undertaking takeovers of smaller CUs, eager to provide members a broader menu of tech-based services.

Following the St. Joseph Valley merger, the $379 million KCFCU will have 10 branches in three counties – Calhoun, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph – and more than 30,000 members

Meanwhile, the $316 million Honor said Allegis members voted Dec. 8 to approve the merger which now awaits NCUA approval to be finalized early in 2012.

As part of the transition, veteran Allegis CEO John Sink is retiring and will continue in a consulting capacity. Sink has been with Allegis 12 years and has 40 years in the financial services industry.

Scott McFarland, president/CEO of Honor, said his credit union is now in 14 counties and poised for further expansion in the state,  reaching out “on a demographic basis either through new branches” or perhaps future mergers should opportunities arise.

McFarland also had praise for his St. Joseph competitor, the $1.3 billion United FCU, which at yearend will wind up merging the $81 million Griffith Savings Bank in northern Indiana.

“I give credit to (UFCU CEO) Gary (Easterling) for being a real trailblazer for the movement and opening up this window,” said McFarland.

The UFCU/Griffith deal is “a good example of collaboration,” said McFarland and “it is particularly heartening to think we are seeing former bank customers becoming credit union members.”