Second Time's the Charm: Baton Rouge Credit Union Agrees to Merger
More than 70% of the members of Main Street Financial Credit Union in Denham Springs, La., gave their thumbs up to merge with $283 million Jefferson Financial Credit Union in Metairie, La., Wednesday.
Denham Springs is a suburb of Baton Rouge while Metairie is a suburb of New Orleans.
Members of the $97 million Main Street FCU rejected the merger proposal in January.
“What happened the last time is that the timing could not have been worse,” explained John Lyon, board chair for Main Street Financial FCU. “We only gave our members 10 days to digest all of the (merger) information. We had a lot of misinformation that was disseminated amongst the membership that branches would be closed, people would be laid off – none of which was (or is) true. But the reality is what people hear.”
As a result, the merger proposal was defeated by more than 1,000 votes.
On the second try, Lyon said Main Street FCU took much more time to allow members to review the merger information and held three town hall meetings that included a presentation about the merger proposal and welcomed questions from members. Merger information also was posted on Main Street FCU’s web site.
“Once they saw what the merger would do for our credit union, it was overwhelmingly received positively,” said Lyon. “What we did different is that we got the information out to the members and gave them time to digest it. And they voted based on facts, not rumors.”
Of the 1,386 members who voted on the second proposed merger Tuesday, 989 (71%) voted yes, and 397 (28%) voted no.
As Main Street FCU merges into Jefferson Financial CU on Jan. 1, Main Street FCU’s five branches in and around Baton Rouge will remain open. What’s more, the credit union’s 37 employees also will retain their jobs, the credit unions said.