DUNEDIN, Fla. (5/11/15)--Achieva CU, Dunedin, Fla., announced recently that it plans to merge with the southwest Florida-based Calusa Bank--the first “whole bank” acquisition of a bank by a credit union in the United States, according to the negotiators.
Florida statutes permit capital stock financial institutions to be merged into credit unions, which are also considered mutual financial institutions in Florida, Bruce Ricca, chief of the Bureau of Credit Unions at the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, told News Now.
Through the deal, which still awaits regulatory approval, Achieva would add $165 million in assets and four branches located on Florida’s southwestern Gulf Coast. Calusa’s 3,000 customers also will receive notices to opt-in to the credit union once the transaction is completed later this year.
“We believe it will be good for Calusa’s customers because we can provide products and services the bank isn’t providing,” Gary Regoli, Achieva CU president/CEO, told News Now. “It’s good for Achieva’s members, because they will have access to four more branch locations. And it’s good for the communities we serve, because we work to make ourselves part of the fabric of our communities.
“We can strengthen our position in this market, gain a base immediately and build capital,” Regoli said. “The NCUA has a renewed focus on building capital that we need in order to grow.”
The credit union industry of late has seen a growing trend of purchase-and-assumption deals where credit unions purchase a bank in pieces; first buying the branches, then its assets, and so on.
But Florida state law offers credit unions a second avenue: a full merger, which allows the purchase of an entire bank in one bite, according to Michael Bell, the attorney who brokered the deal between Achieva and Calusa Bank.
“The net effect is very similar,” Bell, an attorney with Howard & Howard, based out of Royal Oak, Mich., told News Now. “The advantage here in Florida is that we have a choice of structure, and that can matter sometimes for a selling entity.”