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Merging to Improve Our Impact on Vermonters

WE’RE MERGING WITH NEFCU

VSECU and New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) will officially merge on January 1, but it will be business as usual until we have fully integrated our systems later in 2023. If we make changes that affect your accounts or the way you do business with VSECU, we will communicate those changes to you ahead of time.

As of the New Year, we will be VSECU, a division of New England Federal Credit Union and will go by that name until we identify and create a new name for our combined organization. We are already working together to combine the best of VSECU and NEFCU to create an integrated experience for all our members.

We know you will have questions in the coming weeks and months. We will continue to update this page with new information and benefits as we learn more, so keep checking back.

Click here to view the vote results.

Click here to read our joint press release.

The WHY behind the proposed merger

VSECU and New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) have joined to better serve our members and Vermonters. As two member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives that have been serving Vermonters for over 135 years combined, we look forward to working together to improve the quality of life for our members, employees, and communities.

BETTER TOGETHER: We are building a stronger co-op

Both VSECU and NEFCU have a long history of Vermonters helping Vermonters by joining and participating in our credit unions. When more members come together to save, we have more deposits to fund loans. The interest income generated from those loans is used to pay savers through dividends and savings rates. The more members who pool their resources together in our financial cooperative, the better we can recirculate wealth and the stronger we are for the benefit of each other.

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TRUE TO VERMONT: We are keeping banking local in Vermont

Combining our resources will help protect and preserve our Vermont-based cooperative movement and accelerate financial inclusion for more Vermonters. Together, VSECU and NEFCU can provide the same level of service as the growing number of outside competitors, big banks, and financial technology companies that are winning over some of our members and exporting our Vermont dollars and decisions out of state.

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LEADING FROM THE FUTURE: We are investing in our future generations

As part of our mission to serve all Vermonters, we need to focus not just on the present, but look five, 10, and 20 years ahead with foresight and visionary leadership. We have a vibrant membership and, in this uncertain and rapidly changing world, need to secure our collective financial strength and sustainability to ensure we can serve our members for the unforeseeable future. We are building on a legacy to make sure your children and grandchildren will enjoy the benefits of banking with a financial co-op, while keeping people and families connected, here in Vermont.

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ENRICHING QUALITY OF LIFE: We will be the very best for our members

Together, we will realize scale and capacity that will fuel our ability to do more than we would be able to do on our own. We strive for excellence, listen to member feedback, and know where we fall short of providing exceptional customer service and helping our members achieve financial independence. Increased capital, additional employees, and a more diverse membership, product suite, and balance sheet, will allow us to invest in you with great rates, low fees, more branches, better digital capabilities, and better and more responsive customer service.

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Read more about how the merger will benefit our members:

The goal is to expand access to more products and services and adopt the best-priced products and services from each credit union where possible. As one example, the merger will allow us to reduce overdraft fees from $28 to $14, which is NEFCU’s current fee structure.

Our members will have access to eight more branches around the state, without the cost of construction or leasing space and shoring up financial resources for potential future branches in other areas.

This ever-growing threat requires more and more resources to ensure our members’ information is protected. Blending resources will provide greater investments in security and protect our members’ information.

With the labor shortage, the merger will give us 460 employees and increase our capacity to provide more individual attention to our members’ banking needs.

We will continue to provide our existing and unique services such as green lending and expand new services offered by NEFCU such as their robust and various mortgage products.

We will have access to an additional $113 million available in business lending capacity to support small Vermont businesses and our local economy.

We will be able to make the substantial and consistent investments needed to improve our digital banking services and stay ahead of member expectations for a seamless and safe online and app experience.

Amid Vermont’s competitive and evolving banking landscape, the merger helps ensure that we remain locally operated and able to serve current and future generations of Vermonters.

More information about the merger

We want to make sure our members have the most accurate, up-to-date information. We will continue to provide resources with more details about the merger.

  • Similarities between VSECU and NEFCU

    Two like-minded credit unions

    VSECU and NEFCU are two remarkably similar Vermont-based, member-owned financial cooperatives. See how our credit unions aren’t as different as you might think.

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    A new brand identity

    As a merged credit union, we will create a new brand identity and name. Learn more about the joint decision and collaborative process to select a new name that will reflect our partnership, our members, and our communities.

  • Greener Pastures Episode 6 - Multi Column

    PERSPECTIVES ON MERGERS IN VERMONT

    George Hofheimer, a strategic advisor to consumer finance organizations, and Joseph Bergeron, President/CEO of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions, discuss the current state of the credit union industry, including strategies that will help ensure credit unions remain relevant in a rapidly evolving financial landscape.

Member questions and answers

Since the merger was proposed, we’ve collected a range of questions from our members. While many details are still undetermined, here are the answers we can provide at this stage in the process.

FAST FACTS

Here are a few facts and figures about the merger and what our combined credit union will look like:

  • Over 135 years combined serving Vermonters
  • Over 165,000 members
  • More than $2.9 billion in assets
  • Seventeen branches
  • Over 84% of members living in Vermont
  • More than $300 million in capital
  • Zero layoffs
  • A new name will be determined to reflect our partnership and combined membership
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Good for members

We will remain locally operated and keep our resources concentrated in our communities. The strength from within will allow us to expand and reach more people and underserved communities such as the BIPOC, refugee, low-to-moderate income, and rural communities. Our philanthropic focus is aligned so that we can create more impact to address affordable housing, food scarcity, heat, environmental stewardship, and financial wellness.

While other mergers in Vermont may not be viewed positively by many, the merger with NEFCU will be an exception. It reflects two strong Vermont businesses coming together to strengthen their legacies of improving the lives of all Vermonters, now and for generations to come.

Just like VSECU, NEFCU is a member-owned financial cooperative. They share, almost verbatim, our mission to empower members’ financial success and improve the quality of life for Vermonters and have been doing so for more than 60 years. Approximately 84% of their 95,000 members have a Vermont address, which is very similar to VSECU (88%).

Just as VSECU supports Vermonters’ essential needs, NEFCU focuses its community impact in the areas of children’s welfare, nursing and science education, financial literacy, and housing, where they recently committed $6 million to help address Vermont’s affordable housing crisis.

No. There are no special, merger-related financial arrangements for the CEO or executives. Like all employees at VSECU, they will maintain their current salary and benefits. With VSECU’s strong financial performance and consistent ranking among Vermont’s Best Places to Work, the Board of Directors wanted Miller as President and Chief Operating Officer to help lead the merged credit union alongside NEFCU CEO John Dwyer.

Background

Over the past several years, the VSECU Board of Directors has explored many strategic initiatives to ensure our sustainable growth for the future. They have discussed opening new branches, joining or forming a credit union service organization (CUSO), expanding outside of Vermont, and potential mergers with both in- and out-of-state credit unions.

These discussions and a series of strategic information meetings throughout 2021 led to an exploratory conversation between CEOs Robert Miller and John Dwyer in October of 2021. There were many meetings, discussions, exchanges of information, and due diligence between our organizations and respective boards, as well as extensive conversations, meetings, and presentations with industry experts, legal counsel, and independent consultants. It became clear to the Board in February 2022 that a merger would be in the best interest of their fellow members.

More members and resources create a stronger credit union and provide greater financial opportunities for Vermonters. With Vermont’s aging population, our average member is currently 52 years of age and focused on saving, with 44% over the age of 55 and 25% ages 40 to 54. We need more young members who are in their borrowing years to keep our financial cooperative working for every generation.

Since 2001, VSECU’s strategic initiatives have been focused on growth as an important factor in maintaining the economies of scale that a cooperative provides and mitigating saturation with our existing membership.

Scale and additional resources will provide access to more capital, limit balance sheet risk, ensure financial sustainability, and provide the resources required to invest in the products and services that members want. Increased resources enable VSECU to compete with the rates and technology offered by national banks and financial technology companies.

No. This is a partnership, not an acquisition. You can see this in a few ways:

  1. Everyone will keep their job and current salary and benefits.
  2. None of our branches or facilities will close due to the merger.
  3. The combined Board of Directors and Executive Team will have balanced representation from both organizations.
  4. Our focus on green lending and sustainable banking will continue and grow stronger in the combined credit union.
  5. Once we have merged, we will create a new name and brand identity for the combined credit union that reflects our partnership and the members and communities we serve. Until then, we will continue to operate as VSECU, a division of New England Federal Credit Union.

Costs associated with work done thus far to prepare for the merger is absorbed through our normal annual operating budget. There will be both shared costs and shared savings as a result of the merger due to the combining of resources and systems. The cost accounting of expenses will be identified and absorbed by the combined capital of the merged credit union.

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Questions?

We will continue to update this page as we have more information. If you have any further questions or comments, please email [email protected] or call 802-371-5134, and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Email the merger response teamOr call us at 802-371-5134