Three credit unions, CitizensFirst of Oshkosh, Lakeview of Neenah and Best Advantage of Brillion, are planning for a collaborative merger this year after a unanimous vote from their boards of directors.
While CitizensFirst’s charter will remain as the newly merged credit union, the memberships of Best Advantage and Lakeview will vote on the proposed merger at their annual meetings in February and March. After merging, the credit union will change its name.
Once finalized, the collaborative partnership will leverage $600 million in combined assets, with 10 branch locations serving 47,000 members throughout 15 counties in Wisconsin. This historic merger will be the first of its kind in the state of Wisconsin, according to the Department of Financial Institutions.
CitizensFirst President & CEO Kevin J. Ralofsky said the merger was born out of a shared vision for strengthening relevancy and value for all members, and that the merger was a choice in which all three partners approached it as a strategic partnership.
Lakeview Credit Union President & CEO Pat Lowney said the partnership would allow the credit unions to blend areas of expertise and expand lending opportunities.
“An organization’s culture is critical to its success today more than ever,” said Best Advantage president & CEO Tammy Williams. “We are extremely proud that all partners have a deep commitment to transparency and respect.”
Ralofsky will serve as the new credit union’s president & CEO. Pat Lowney and Tammy Williams will retain senior executive positions critical to the overall success of the collaboration.
The new credit union hopes to serve as a model for other credit unions that may be considering similar collaborative efforts.
For more information, visit: www.citizensfirst.com/collaborativemerger.