Bakersfield, CA – Valley Strong Credit Union and Financial Center Credit Union are excited to announce their plans to merge pending regulatory approval and membership vote. If approved, the organization will operate under the Valley Strong name. The organization’s combined assets would be approximately $3.2 billion, and would serve nearly 200,000 Members with 27 branches throughout the San Joaquin Valley from Lodi to Tehachapi.
“The phrase ‘Growing Together,’ is a perfect adage, as this merger represents a strategic partnership between two financially healthy, future focused credit unions committed to providing unparalleled branch access, digital access, and amazing service for the Members and the communities they serve,” says Michael P. Duffy, President/CEO of Financial Center. “In a financial services sector that is constantly evolving, this merger is a true embodiment of the credit union industry’s cooperative mind-set,” Duffy adds. “At its core our partnership with Valley Strong represents us selecting the best credit union partner to help us achieve our goals faster than we could duplicate on our own.”
Combined, the organization would be a leading credit union in California. In fact, Forbes Magazine named Valley Strong one of “America’s Best Credit Unions” and “Second in California” in its third annual “Best-In-State Banks and Credit Unions.”
“As the CEO of Financial Center Credit Union for the past 21 years, my perspective on mergers has evolved just as much as our industry has in that same time period,” Duffy says. “As credit unions built by select employee groups (SEGs) increasingly partner with community credit unions, I have marveled at what credit unions of today’s scale can accomplish when they join forces with their Member-owners and communities chiefly in mind.”
Duffy goes on to say that, “2020 made it clear that right now is the perfect time to leverage a spirit of collaboration. Financial Center was founded when 11 people with a shared vision and similar values banded together to provide better financial access for Members. Our partnership with Valley Strong is an extension of that history. One that will allow us to grow together. The best part? We found a partner that truly shares our values.”
Nick Ambrosini, Valley Strong, EVP/CFO, and incoming CEO for the combined organization, agrees. “When I first sat down with Michael and we started to share our visions for our respective credit unions, everything just felt right,” Ambrosini says. “Our partnership is rooted in the commitment and passion we have for serving our Members. Financial Center’s passion for the industry and for the long-term growth and viability of community credit unions matches Valley Strong’s. We’re partnering for the right reasons, and when organizations do that, it’s a win-win! “
As Member-owned cooperatives, and under the guidelines of the National Credit Union Association, a successful merger is contingent upon Financial Center’s Member approval. Upon that approval, the entities will become one sometime in 2021.
As the merger process moves forward, both credit unions will provide information to their respective memberships via their websites (fccuburt.org and valleystrong.com), and other applicable communication channels.
Valley Strong Credit Union
Valley Strong Credit Union operates 21 branches, serving more than 160,000 individuals, with approximately $2.4 billion in assets. It remains one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in the San Joaquin Valley.
Financial Center Credit Union
Established in 1954 and with approximately $600 million in assets and serving more than 30,000 Members. Financial Center Credit Union is the largest credit union based in San Joaquin County and continues to be voted the best credit union in the area.