- Bakersfield, California-based Valley Strong Credit Union and Stockton, California-based Financial Center Credit Union announced their intention to merge Friday to create an entity with $3.2 billion in assets, 27 branches and nearly 200,000 members.
- Pending regulator approval, the deal is expected to be complete in October, with full integration of systems set for early 2022, Valley Strong said on its website.
- The transaction marks the second merger this year for Valley Strong. The credit union announced in February that it would merge with Fairfield, California-based Solano First Federal Credit Union in a deal slated to take effect July 1.
July 1 would also mark the first day as Valley Strong CEO for Nick Ambrosini, who has served as the credit union’s CFO. Outgoing Valley Strong CEO Stephen Renock is set to retire June 30.
Ambrosini, who will serve as CEO of the combined entity, has worked for Valley Strong since 2007 and previously held roles as the credit union’s manager of internal audit and risk management, director of financial planning and vice president of finance.
Financial Center CEO Michael Duffy will serve as Valley Strong’s chief advocacy officer after the merger. Valley Strong has held onto the CEOs of merger partners: Solano First’s CEO, Mike Warrell, is set to become a market president in Valley Strong’s fold after that merger goes through.
Valley Strong has taken a few steps to expand in recent years — rebranding from a Kern County-focused institution in February 2020 to put itself in a position to serve more members. It also set out to convert to a state charter in 2019.
“When I first sat down with [Financial Center CEO] Michael [Duffy] and we started to share our visions for our respective credit unions, everything just felt right,” Ambrosini said in a press release Friday. “Our partnership is rooted in the commitment and passion we have for serving our members. We’re partnering for the right reasons.”
Financial Center said it is merging to offer its members expanded products and services, including mortgages, business banking, digital and online banking, and a 7-day-a-week contact center, which the credit union said would take years and significant resources to develop.
“This merger is a true embodiment of the credit union industry’s cooperative mindset,” Duffy said in the press release. “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.”