Credit unions' acquisitions of banks have kicked off in 2021 just as they had in 2020: with a move by Minnesota's Wings Financial Credit Union.
The $6.7 billion-asset Apple Valley-based credit union is buying fellow Minnesota lender Brainerd Savings & Loan, it announced Monday, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and American Banker. The deal, which requires federal and state approval, is expected to close by May 31. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Wings in February 2020 announced it would buy Mora, Minnesota-based Neighborhood National Bank in the first bank purchase by a credit union last year.
The acquisition of taxpaying banks by tax-exempt credit unions has aroused pushback from the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), which launched a campaign in late 2019 aimed at curbing the trend. Credit unions in 2019 bought 16 banks, an acceleration from nine the previous year. That number winnowed to seven in 2020.
Wings CEO Frank Weidner said he was attracted to Brainerd because of the bank's cabin mortgage business — a lending silo the credit union wants to grow — and its geography.
"We already have a fair number of members there, certainly some seasonable membership," he said, according to the Business Journal. "[Cabin lending is] something we get a reasonable amount of inquiries on from our members."
Wings is assuming Brainerd's members, liabilities and assets, which are valued at $72.4 million. Wings has made a push in recent years to expand beyond the Twin Cities. Counting Brainerd's single branch, Wings will have 25 locations in Minnesota once the deal closes, and 30 overall, including a presence in Michigan, Florida, Georgia and Washington state.