Two Disney Credit Unions Put A 'Partner'ship On Their Vista

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BURBANK, Calif. - For two credit unions located on opposite sides of the country, Partners FCU and Vista FCU have a lot in common. Both are good-sized CUs with more than 100 employees and thousands of members who work for the sprawling entertainment interests of The Walt Disney Company.

Last week, Partners and Vista announced that both credit unions have taken the initial steps to merge the CUs into one large organization with $750 million in assets, eight branches in Florida and California to serve more than 100,000 members. Partners FCU VP of Marketing Andrew Downin said the two credit unions had met informally during the summer and fall of 2006. On Dec. 16 both boards of directors unanimously voted to recommend a merger that Downin described as a "merger of two equals" that will result in no change in locations at the eight CU branches on the East and West coasts.

"It's quite a big leap for both of our organizations," Downin said. "We're all very excited about the merger. It's something we've talked about for a long time."

Downin said both credit unions have a wide range of members from a young worker selling popcorn on Main Street in DisneyWorld in Orlando, Fla., to top-tier film directors creating feature films for Disney in Hollywood. Partners FCU has around 100 employees while Vista FCU has 150 employees. Downin insisted that there will be no layoffs in management or staff.

"The boards have stated there will be no layoffs as a result of the merger," Downin said.

Downin said if the membership approves the merger, the new credit union will take on the Partners FCU name while a new logo has been created in draft form that reflects the heritage of Vista FCU. Vista FCU President John Janclaes said the new logo isn't ready to be released to the public but it has elements of Vista present logo including the colors and type of font used.

"The new branding will reflect that," Janclaes said.

Janclaes said the merger would result in better rates and services for members. For example, Janclaes said all members would have access to another call center after the merger. Members in Orlando who need to speak to a member service representative after work will gain three more hours of call time availability as the west coast center will still be in operation.

Janclaes said the Federal Trade Commission and NCUA need to give formal approval which he expects to take around 60 days before the membership of both credit unions' votes on the merger. Letters on the merger are going out to the membership now, he said, and Janclaes also said that the Disney Company is excited about the possible merger.

After the merger, Janclaes said the two boards of directors would combine to work with 15 members and five on the supervisory committee for the foreseeable future. Janclaes said the immediate challenge after member approval would be the transfer of each credit union's work culture and knowledge and then meeting everyone's expectations of better products and services.

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