BIZ BEAT: Preferred Federal Credit Union merger set for July 1


By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 9:44 am on Monday, June 17, 2013

Though the merger is already final, Preferred Federal Credit Union in Greenville will officially become Preferred Credit Union July 1.

 

GREENVILLE — Members of Preferred Federal Credit Union (PFCU) in Greenville will likely see few, if any, changes in day-to-day operations after July 1, when a planned merger with Grand Valley Co-op Credit Union takes affect.

In point of fact, the merger has for the most part already taken affect; July 1 is simply the “official” date.

According to Grand Valley Co-op Credit Union Chief Operations Officer Robert Shane, the merger really took place in February, after PFCU members overwhelming voted for its approval.

“We’ve been using the time since to prepare for the transition,” Shane said. “Some changes have happened already, some are going to happen in the near future.”

Those changes, Shane added, are all for the better where members are concerned. By leveraging the larger organization of the merged entities, Preferred Credit Union (the organization’s new name) has been able to offer lower loan rates along with higher interest rates for savings accounts. After July 1, members will see the interest rates on most savings accounts triple, rising from the current .05 percent to .15 percent.

“It’s not a huge jump,” Shane said, “but it’s certainly far better than it has been.”

Another big plus for those who use mobile banking will be a new application, or “app,” available for both IOS and Android mobile devices. The app will enable members to handle many transactions via their phones, tablets and similar devices, a feature that has been noticeably lacking from PFCU in the past.

According to PFCU Branch Manager Barb Denman, a July 1 delivery date for the app would not have been possible without the merger.

“(A mobile banking app) will automatically be there for our members as soon as we merge,” Denman said. “With our limited staff, it probably would have taken us a few years to get something like that up and running.”

Another bonus from the merger is the credit union’s ability to now offer accounts to members outside Montcalm County. Customers from 28 surrounding counties may now open accounts at Preferred Federal.

Additionally, the merger means Greenville members have access to branch locations in Belding, Grand Rapids, Greenville, Hastings, Kalamazoo and Ludington, as well as “national shared branching” at 5,100 locations nationwide.

Denman added there will be no major personnel changes at the Greenville branch.

“There will be no shakeup, and there’s no plans for reductions (in staff),” Denman said. “All the staff is staying and now there’s actually room for growth, since we’re forming a new cards department that will bring in three or four employees.”

Preferred Federal Credit Union members voted on the merger in February, with 93 percent of the membership coming out in favor of the deal.

“It was approved overwhelmingly,” Shane said.

More information about the merger is available online at preferredcu.org.

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