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Michigan Credit Union League

Two of Michigan's Biggest Credit Unions Are About to Get Even Bigger

Two of Michigan’s largest credit unions have announced their intent to merge, creating what will be the largest credit union in the state once the merger is completed.

Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) has announced that it will merge with St. Joseph’s United Federal Credit Union (UFCU). The resulting institution will have assets of more than $6 billion and will be one of the nation’s top 20 credit unions by asset size and net loans, with 1,400 employees serving members in 64 branches across seven states. The merger is yet another in the recent trend of healthy, profitable credit unions combining, including a recent three-way merger among healthy credit unions in Wisconsin. United and Lake Michigan had a combined net income of more than $60 million last year.

In a statement on LMCU’s website, President and CEO Sandy Jelinski said the two institutions’ similar cultures, geographic proximity and emphasis on member service made the partnership “a natural fit.”

“Both of our organizations are dedicated to delivering the very best to our members, and we are proud to continue our support of important events in our communities,” she said. “This is an exciting opportunity for the employees and members of both organizations to build the absolute best credit union in the country.”

The merger comes as longtime UFCU President and CEO Gary Easterling was preparing to retire. Easterling announced his retirement this spring and had planned to stay on until the credit union’s board identified a successor. Jelinski will lead the combined credit union, though Easterling will assist temporarily during the transition period.

Easterling said the boards of both intuitions unanimously approved the merger. Both credit unions’ boards are expected to remain in place, and no job losses are expected as a result of the merger. In addition to Jelinksi, senior management at both credit unions is expected to remain in place.

“We view this as a tremendous opportunity for our employees and our members to continue with another great organization that will significantly expand our potential for mutual future success,” said Easterling.

While all existing UFCU facilities will retain their current branding, the credit union will undergo a charter conversion as part of the merger and operate under LMCU’s state charter.

The merger process is expected to be completed by year-end and still needs to be approved by members and regulators. For more information, visit www.lmcu.org.

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