Twin Cities-area merger will create state's second-largest credit union

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TruStone Financial Credit Union and Firefly Credit Union, both based near the Twin Cities, have announced plans to merge, creating a $3 billion-asset institution that would be Minnesota’s second-largest credit union.

The deal, expected to take effect sometime next year, will follow the retirement of TruStone President and CEO Tim Bosiacki in January. The combined institution will operate under the TrusStone Financial brand and be led by Firefly President and CEO Dale Turner.

“Unlike a traditional bank merger, this is not a buyout or acquisition,” Bosiacki said in a letter posted on TruStone’s website. “Instead, this represents a truly collaborative partnership between two financially healthy credit unions committed to their members. The phrase ‘better together’ is a perfect adage. Together our 190,000+ members would have more branch locations, enhanced services, and improved technology.”

The combined credit union will have 23 branches across Minnesota and Wisconsin, with reportedly 80% of members living within five miles of a branch. Branch and call center staff are not expected to change, and the growth is expected to give the institution efficiencies that will allow it “to better anticipate and meet the financial needs of its membership in a rapidly evolving financial services industry,” according to an FAQ from TruStone.

Despite being similarly sized institutions, the decision to move forward under the TruStone Financial brand was based on research into brand recognition in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Minn., and southeast Wisconsin.

TruStone will also convert to a state charter, which the credit unions said will provide greater flexibility and growth options in the two states the CUs will serve. A charter-conversion application is expected to be submitted to regulators by mid-May, with members voting on the conversion by year-end.

The TruStone board of directors approved the merger in April but regulators have not yet signed off on the deal. Pending approval and the charter conversion, the merger is expected to be finalized by January, with all systems integrated by early 2022.

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M&A Consolidations Growth strategies Succession planning Minnesota Wisconsin