Washington poised to have first-ever bank sold to a credit union

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Sound Credit Union in Tacoma, Wash., has agreed to buy Bank of Washington in Lynnewood in a first-of-its-kind deal for the institutions’ home state.

The $1.5 billion-asset credit union said in a press release Friday that it will pay $6.40 a share in cash to shareholders of Washington Bancorp to buy substantially all of the bank’s assets and assume most of its liabilities. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

Sound Credit Union said it will have 29 branches, $1.7 billion in assets, $1.3 billion in loans and $1.5 billion in deposits when the deal closes. The credit union reported net income of about $10.1 million in the first half of this year.

The purchase “will help us further expand our footprint in Snohomish and King counties, accelerate our business and mortgage lending efforts, and add great employees,” Don Clark, Sound Credit Union’s president and CEO, said in the release. “We feel the value and cultures of both companies are very similar with a strong commitment to customers and the communities in which we serve.”

“As a larger and stronger financial institution with a significantly higher legal lending limit, we will be better able to compete in today’s competitive environment and serve our customers,” said Marty Steele, Washington Bancorp’s president and CEO.

Sound Credit Union was advised by Howard & Howard.

“This is the first credit union purchase of a whole bank in Washington State,” said Michael Bell, a lawyer at Howard & Howard. “This serves as additional proof that this is a viable option for credit unions and banks nationwide.”

An increasing number of credit unions have used bank purchases as a growth tool in recent years. Earlier this year, Superior Credit Union in Wisconsin bought Dairlyand State Bank and IBM Southeast Employees' Credit Union purchased a bank in Florida.

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