Syracuse Thrift Grows Through Credit Unions Acquisitions

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Beacon Federal Savings Bank has never left its credit union roots far behind since becoming just the second credit union to convert to a mutual savings bank in July 1999. The credit union for the once proud air conditioner manufacturers Carrier Corp. has tripled in size since then by acquiring four other credit union-converts, including two that served Carrier. Beacon, which now claims almost $600 million in assets, was at it again last month, acquiring Marcy FCU, after the $20 million credit union converted to mutual thrift just before the new year. Other credit union deals by Beacon Federal for Salt City Hospital FCU, Caney Fork FCU and Professional Teachers FCU gave it a disparate market that includes branches in Syracuse, Massachusetts, Texas and Tennessee. “Some credit unions merge with other credit unions; other credit union merge with us. There’s no difference,” said Darren Crossett, senior vice president of Beacon Federal, asserting that the mutual structure allows them to retain their mutual heritage. Despite being one of the first credit unions to convert, Beacon has yet to go public. “This demonstrates that you can continue with the credit union philosophy after you become a bank,” said Alan Theriault, consultant on credit union conversions, who was not involved in the deals. “Your membership is essentially the same and you can double your capital potential by being a bank.”

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