Should it be successfully completed, the purchase of the $83 million Monadnock Community Bank in New Hampshire by the $353 million GFA Federal Credit Union in Massachusetts will break new regulatory ground and possibly set the stage for other, similar, deals according to one of the attorneys representing the credit union.
Michael Bell, partner with the Detroit, Michigan law firm of Kotz Sangster, is advising GFA through the purchase and explained that the deal's unprecedented nature is one of its most challenging aspects, particularly that there is no precedent for a credit union buying a stock-owned thrift.
“When GFA approached me about doing this I did some investigation and told them there is nothing in the [Federal Credit Union] Act that says you can do this, but there is nothing that says you can't, so let's go for it,” Bell said.
The proposed deal was so novel that Bell said that among GFA's first moves had been to work with the NCUA to create an application for the agency to evaluate and approve the deal.
“That's how far outside the box we were,” Bell said, chuckling. “We had to work with NCUA to build the box.”
The deal passed one of its major hurdles on Thursday when shareholders at the bank voted to approve the proposed sale.
Now that the vote has been passed, Bell said GFA and the bank would work with regulators from the NCUA, Comptroller of the Currency (the new regulator for federally chartered thrifts) and the FDIC to address each of their different concerns, and he expressed confidence that each agency's different requirements would be satisfied in the end.