No Plan To Sell Or Convert To Bank, Says State Farm

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While Nationwide Insurance has recently announced plans to buy its employees credit union, Nationwide FCU, and merge it with recently chartered Nationwide Bank, a similar plan is not afoot at another insurance industry credit union going through changes of its own, according to the CU's CEO.

Any speculation that the State Farm Insurance-affiliated credit unions are being merged in order to then again be merged with a State Farm Insurance-owned thrift is unfounded, stressed State Farm Great Lakes FCU CEO Tom DeWitt in an interview with The Credit Union Journal. DeWitt emphatically denied any possibility that the 12 soon-to-be merged State Farm credit unions, which are combining into one CU to be lead by DeWitt, have any other plans.

"That's completely false. No truth to that whatsoever," DeWitt insisted.

DeWitt said his main sponsor, insurance giant State Farm, desires that the two organizations to remain separate and noted that Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide FCU is an independent organization that doesn't operate as an employee benefit in the way the State Farm-affiliated credit unions do. DeWitt said he didn't know how the thrift rumor got started and first read of it in connection with an American Banker story on Nationwide Insurance.

"We've not been contacted by anyone except for you (The Credit Union Journal)," he said. "That's just not the case. We're not going that way."

The NCUA recently approved a dozen credit unions affiliated with State Farm Insurance to merge into one CU with more than $3 billion in assets. DeWitt will head the new credit union that will be called State Farm FCU. After the merger, State Farm employees will be able to access the same array of financial services and products at each branch and won't need to close and reopen member accounts as before. Others involved in the merger are State Farm California FCU, Bakersfield; State Farm Central, Columbia, Mo.; State Farm Florida FCU, Winter Haven; State Farm Great Western FCU, Tempe, Ariz.; State Farm Heartland FCU, Lincoln, Neb.; State Farm Mid-America FCU, Newark, Ohio; State Farm Mid-Atlantic FCU, Frederick, Md; State Farm Northeast FCU, Ballston Spa, N.Y.; State Farm Pacific Northwest FCU, Dupont, Wash.; State Farm Southern FCU, Duluth, Ga.; and State Farm Texas FCU, Austin.

As reported in the June 26 issue of The Credit Union Journal, Nationwide Financial Services has made a bid to purchase the $570-millionNationwide FCU, with members of the 55-year-old credit union being paid $150 for every $1,000 deposited with the financial institution.

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