Undertaking its first merger in several years, the $2.3 billionState Employees Credit Union in Linthicum, Md., announced Tuesdayit planned to consolidate the $81 million Anne Arundel CountyEmployees FCU of Annapolis.

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Merger discussions have been under way since the fourth quarterof last year with the healthy Annapolis CU deciding a limitedproduct offering and tech capacity made scouting for a mergerpartner the right choice, said Rod Staatz, president/CEO ofSECU, Maryland's largest state-chartered CU.

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“We are delighted the management and board of Anne Arundelpicked us after their CEO apparently shopped some of our branchesand liked what he saw,” said Staatz, who is vice chairman of theMaryland/DC Credit Union Association.

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Rick Stoll is president/CEO of Anne Arundel, which has twobranches and 14,000 members in Millersburg and Annapolis.

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“We will be able to offer a complete turnkey banking experiencefor members, with an assortment of robust mortgage programs,expanded home equity lines of credit and other services, likeelectronic banking services, not currently available at AnneArundel,” Staatz said.

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He said there are no current plans to pursue other mergers butthere could be others in metro Washington “who find themselves inthe same boat as Anne Arundel.”

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Members of Anne Arundel will be asked to approve the merger attheir annual meeting in April with completion of the transactionexpected during the third quarter.

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In another area, Staatz said his CU does expect to continue a“Take Banking a Different Direction” promotion which has beentargeting bank customers to switch to SECU. The promotionhas cited high fees at competing banks in the area.

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Among the CU competitors, said SECU officials, has been the $183million HAR-CO CU of Bel Air which has said it plans to become a mutualbank by April 1.

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“We have been running our promotion in that area because we dohave some Bel Air branches,” Staatz said.

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