SMITHFIELD, R.I. — Navigant CU announced this afternoon it merging troubled Columbus CU, a $68 million in nearby Warren, R.I., with two branches.

Columbus CU's two branches, in Warren and Riverside, will remain open and complement the 10 other branch offices in northern and eastern Rhode Island operated by the $1.3 billion Navigant.

Columbus CU, which was chartered in 1950 by the Knights of Columbus in the basement of St. Mary of the Bay Church, reported a $1 million loss for 2011 and a loss of $56,171 for the first quarter of 2012.

The 97-year-old Navigant, chartered to serve the Notre Dame Parrish, was the state's first credit union.

The credit union, which eventually changed its name to Central Falls CU, then to Navigant, reported a $4.2 million net for 2011, and a $1.1 million net for the first quarter of 2012.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval and hoped to be finalized by year's end.

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