Achieva Credit Union in Dunedin, Fla., has received regulatory approval to buy Calusa Bank in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Though the $1.1 billion-asset Achieva would become the first credit union in Florida to buy a bank, this is not the first deal of its kind. What makes this one different, however, is that the credit union will purchase all issued and outstanding Calusa shares, making it the first "whole bank" acquisition by a credit union, Achieva said. In previous transactions, the purchasing credit union assumed only a portion — albeit a majority — of the bank's assets and deposits.

With more than 128,000 members, Achieva reports it has already begun the process of converting Calusa's branches. The $165 million-asset bank has four branches in North Port, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda and Venice.

"The transaction process has gone just as smoothly as we could have wished," Gary Regoli, Achieva's chief executive, said. "This helps broaden our reach, and it follows the Achieva strategy of growing smartly into areas where we can provide the tremendous benefits of Achieva to new members. We are looking forward to becoming a stronger partner in each of these communities because community involvement and leadership is a big part of the Achieva ethos."

Calusa Chairman and CEO Lew Albert said the bank was pleased to find an acquirer with a strong service philosophy.

"It was immediately evident that Achieva's service culture and attention to the customer was in lockstep with ours, giving us assurance that our customers will continue to receive the unparalleled level of service they have come to expect," Albert said.

Atlantic Merchant Capital Advisors, Feldman Financial Advisors and Howard & Howard advised Achieva. Hovde Group and Igler Pearlman advised Calusa.

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