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Sunday, 19 March 2017 15:49

Honor Credit Union continues filling role of consolidator

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BERRIEN SPRINGS — Two pending mergers with smaller credit unions would extend Honor Credit Union into the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo areas.

On April 1, Battle Creek Area Community Federal Credit Union merges into the Berrien Springs-based Honor Credit Union, while members of Post Community Credit Union decide later this month whether to proceed with a proposed merger.

The deals would add seven offices to Honor Credit Union’s footprint, four of them in the Battle Creek area. Once the mergers close, Honor would have 24 offices —  21 in Southwestern Michigan and three in the Upper Peninsula — and assets of $817 million.

The additional offices will fill a gap in the marketplace between Honor’s offices in Kalamazoo and Coldwater.

“We’re really happy to find some good partners in the marketplace that make us better and, hopefully, we’ll be able to do the same for them and grow as a new and better team in Michigan,” said Honor Credit Union CEO Scott McFarland. “They culturally fit, they bring strong team members to the table and, obviously, it’s an expansion of the marketplace and an opportunity to serve more members.”

Post Community Credit Union has six offices — three in the Battle Creek area and three in neighboring Kalamazoo County — with assets of $84.7 million and $73.9 million in deposits as of Dec. 31, according to a financial report filed with federal regulators. The merger is pending approval by regulators and Post Community members later this month.

Battle Creek Area Community Federal Credit Union has a single location with assets totaling $19.2 million and $73.9 million in deposits at the end of 2016. Regulators and members approved the merger last month.

That both credit unions are in the Battle Creek area was coincidental, McFarland said. The deal with Battle Creek Area Community Federal came about when the credit union was actively seeking a merger and Honor “had an opportunity to sit at the table and present our case,” McFarland said.

The Post Community deal stems from its CEO, Rob Viland, and McFarland knowing each other for many years. The two often talked about the industry, changing markets and “how to bring the best possible service and products to the communities we serve,” McFarland said.

“The more we talked, the more the opportunity came about and we’re an organization that looks for partnerships that enhance both organizations,” he said.

Viland will become chief lending officer for Honor. Liz Amundson, CEO of Battle Creek Area Community Federal, will serve as market manager in Battle Creek, McFarland said.

CONTINUED CONSOLIDATION

The two mergers reflect a steady consolidation trend among credit unions in Michigan, often with smaller institutions merging into larger ones. Mergers approved by state regulators in 2016 reduced the number of state-chartered credit unions from 162 to 155 during the year.

Opportunistic credit unions in a position to absorb another operation have taken advantage of the consolidation trend. For its part, Honor Credit Union has grown through mergers in the past. The credit is “not out there knocking on doors,” although it would consider another opportunity should it arise, McFarland said.

MORE DEALS

Among the latest proposed deals, Tradewinds Credit Union in Comstock Park plans to merge with Community West Credit Union in Kentwood. Tradewinds, with a single office, had assets of $18.3 million and $16.9 million in deposits as of Dec. 31. Community West, with five offices in the area, had $177.8 million in assets and deposits of $155.1 million.

On the lakeshore, Shoreline Federal Credit Union in North Shores plans to merge into Farmington Hills-based Community Choice Credit Union. Shoreline Federal has a single location in Norton Shores with assets of $17.3 million as of Dec. 31, and 2,641 members. Community Choice, with offices in suburban Detroit, had assets of $853.4 million at the end of 2016 with 80,945 members. 

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