WORCESTER, Mass. — Fast-growing Webster First FCU, which entered the Bay State's north shore earlier this year with a deal for Saugus FCU, has agreed to acquire Winthrop FCU, its third merger of 2011, giving it a presence in the Boston market.

Winthrop FCU, a one-time $45 million credit union, has reported big losses the past three years as its net worth sunk to just 3.7% at Sept. 30. It is based in the town of Winthrop, at the north entrance to Boston Harbor. "We look forward to combining the two institutions and expanding our presence within Suffolk County (greater Boston).

"Winthrop is a great community." said Michael Lussier, president of Webster First. The deal follows a merger approved last month of Fitchburg FCU, an ailing one-time $28 million credit union, into Webster First, which is based in the western Massachusetts city of Worcester. The three mergers will give Webster First 16 branches and almost $600 million in assets.

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