What has been proposed to take place between Penobscot County Federal Credit Union and The County Federal Credit Union?
Subject to member and regulatory approval, the Board of Directors from both credit unions have enthusiastically agreed that a merger between the two institutions would improve and increase benefits to both memberships.
Why are Penobscot County Federal Credit Union and The County Federal Credit Union partnering?
In planning for the future, both credit unions realized that a combined organization would bring much greater strength and competitive advantages than each could provide on its own. Very simply, we want to bring members the best value from their credit union while ensuring that we continue to grow and thrive in an ever-changing financial services industry.
Are both credit unions financially strong?
Yes, both credit unions continue to achieve growth and success independently. Both credit union’s net worth ratios far exceed regulatory requirements and both are considered “well capitalized” by government regulators. The combined credit union would have a strong balance sheet, a full-service product offering and a loyal member base.
However, the Boards of Directors of both organizations recognize the opportunity for achieving strategic growth through partnership in a competitive environment. The benefits of joining together to create a larger institution that can take advantage of combined resources, expanded products and services offerings, additional branch locations and a larger geographic area to serve is a compelling strategic direction to take, which the Boards recommend as a responsible and progressive decision.
Both credit unions have been able historically to offer the premier financial services each membership deserves. By combining the two institutions, the decision allows both credit unions to maintain exemplary member service through a combined team of seasoned skilled employees, competitive and innovative product offerings, convenient locations, and a broader area of the state of Maine to serve.
How would Penobscot County FCU and The County FCU members benefit from the proposed merger?
As a credit union member of the new combined credit union, the merger would bring you greater value, through an increased number of products and additional convenience including:
- Expanded branch network: Members of the combined credit union will have access to eight (8) branch locations located in Caribou, Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield, Houlton, Howland, Old Town, Bangor and Mars Hill in 2020.
- Improved technology: The combined credit union will be better able to invest in technology to make managing your finances convenient.
- Greater membership value: The combined deposit and capital base and the economies of scale that would result from this partnership would give us added resources to:
- Offer even greater levels of member service
- Produce a diversification of risk
- Provide new credit union membership opportunities
- Expand our community support programs
- The possibility to open branches and additional ATMs in proximity to where members live, work and vacation.
- Offer attractive rates, better accessibility and lower fees
What are the advantages of a larger organization?
A larger deposit and capital base means expenses are spread over a bigger member base, which will:
- Significantly decrease our expense structure
- Increase operating efficiencies
- Reduce risk associated with difficult economic or rate environments through service to a diverse larger field of membership.
The economies of scale advantages will give us the resources to better serve members, make the right long-term infrastructure and technology investments, and become more competitive.
A combined credit union will provide the resources to better serve your financial needs through added branches and ATMs, well-developed online and mobile technologies, new products and services, and highly competitive rates. While nothing will change until member approval is received, this partnership will mean we can better anticipate and meet all your financial needs.
What is the merger process and estimated timeline?
Both credit unions are performing extensive due diligence and learning about each other’s products and services. The successful completion of the process including regulatory approval, completion of due diligence by both credit unions, and an affirmative membership vote all must occur before the merger can be finalized. Originally, we targeted a merger completion date of April 1, 2020. The Merger Application was submitted in late October 2019. After a period of time of review of the merger application, we were notified of an additional regulatory requirement. Though the process has taken some time, we are still very confident we will receive NCUA support for our proposed merger. Our quick turnaround to provide additional information to them has been timely; however, their workload seems to have slowed the process. In the end, we know applications such as ours take time. We appreciate the patience shown by the staff of both organizations and felt it was important to keep our memberships informed as to the developments. We are in hopes, given the current environment and events, that we can complete the merger by the fourth quarter this year. The new goal is to have the merger completed is October 2020..
Would my branch remain open?
Yes, all branches of both PCFCU and CFCU will remain open. In fact, a previously planned expansion by CFCU continued with a new branch being built and opening in Mars Hill this summer.
Can I use both Penobscot County Federal Credit Union and The County Federal Credit Union’s branches now?
Both Credit Unions are part of the Shared Branching network where any credit union service center can take care of most of your business including: Deposits, Withdrawals, Transfers, Balance Inquires and Statement Printouts to name a few. Both credit unions are also members of the SURF Alliance network, which offers surcharge-free ATMs at over 260 ATMs in Maine. The full integration of the operations of the two credit unions will not occur until after several regulatory steps in the process, which include membership approval by vote. If approved by NCUA, a vote in favor by the membership, and foregoing any unforeseen delays during this process, we are targeting a merger completion date of October 1, 2020.
Will my accounts continue to be insured?
Absolutely, your accounts will continue to be federally insured just as they are today through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government and managed by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
Will my account number change?
Your account number will remain unchanged for the time being. It may change when accounts and core processing of the two credit unions are migrated. When this occurs, you will be notified well in advance of changes.
Will routing number change?
We will retain our current routing numbers for the time being. Members with automated payments, direct deposit or other electronic transfers that use the routing number will not have to make any updates at this time. It may change when accounts and core processing of the two credit unions are migrated. When this occurs, you will be notified well in advance of any changes.
Will my current products and services and the terms of my existing accounts change?
Until CFCU and PCFCU accounts are converted to a common platform none of your accounts will change. Whether or not they will change after that depends on the type of account and the effect of the combining of operational procedures. Of course, you will be notified well in advance of any changes which may affect you.
Some commonly occurring questions:
- Will my online and mobile banking change?
- Not initially. During the transition period you will continue to use the same login credentials to access online and mobile banking. After the post-merger platform is selected you will be notified well in advance of any changes that might affect you.
- Will my debit card still work?
- Will my PCFCU Credit card still work?
- What about my recurring transactions?
- Direct Deposits, ACH, payments, checks, and recurring debit card transactions will continue to work as they do now. After the post-merger platform is selected you will be notified well in advance of changes that may affect you, if any
- Your existing loan contract will remain in effect until the loan is paid in full.
- Share Certificates
- The terms of your existing share certificate will remain in effect until the maturity date.
- How would member’s accounts and printed checks be impacted?
- In the short term, members of both credit unions would experience no impact to their accounts, the checks they use or account numbers. We would work to ensure a seamless integration so you could conduct business as you always have, without any effect on your accounts. We would need to eventually convert members from one credit union to the other’s operating system, but this is still under investigation and would not occur until sometime later in 2020. We will provide additional information about that process once the merger is approved.
What would happen to the Board of Directors?
Part of the strategic vison is to optimize the board structure to have balanced board representation of the membership and assets. It is the goal of the Boards to ensure that membership is well represented from all areas of the new expanded field of membership. The skills, tenure and expertise from all current board members is a great asset to the membership and the management team.
Do both credit unions support this partnership?
Wholeheartedly! Both Boards voted unanimously and are very excited about this partnership and the benefits it will deliver to our members, communities and employees.
Would any staff be laid off as a result of this merger?
No employees from either credit union would be laid off as a result of the merger. In fact, this merger would provide multiple benefits and new opportunities for employees of both credit unions. We need and want all employees to stay and respectfully ask for their patience as we move through the merger process.
I’m concerned that merging with another Maine credit union will change my credit union in a negative way.
We will remain the member’s credit union, with more resources to find new ways to better serve you. CFCU President/CEO Ryan Ellsworth will be the President/CEO of the continuing organization. Steve Baillargeon has retired from PCFCU however he has agreed to be retained in the capacity of a consultant to the PCFCU Board of Directors until the merger is complete. The staff you see at the branch you go to every day will not change unless they choose to. Both management teams and all employees of both organizations are needed throughout the transition and for the continued expected growth. Both credit unions currently use the technologies available today to conduct seamless business throughout rural Maine.
Are we changing the name of our credit union?
A new brand that progressively depicts the heritage and culture may be chosen and announced at a later date, after a thorough review and vetting process. Both credit unions remain committed to our heritage of serving the financial needs of our communities. Immediately following a successful merger process previously outlined, The Penobscot County branches will continue to use the Penobscot County Federal Credit Union name, operating as a division of The County Federal Credit Union. All other branches will use The County Federal Credit Union name.
What if I have additional questions?
We are here to answer all your questions! For answers to questions for Penobscot County FCu, please email: [email protected] or call PCFCU at 207-827-3165. For answers to questions for The County FCU please email: [email protected] or call CFCU at 1-877-336-3727. We will also update both websites and this FAQ page as the process continues.