Mid American, VA credit unions discuss merger

09/04/2014 9:43 AM

09/04/2014 2:32 PM

Sunny Nichelson wants to offer more and less costly services to the 1,250 members of Veterans Administration Credit Union in Wichita, but the credit union can’t do that on its own.

“Being a $5 million credit union, we just can’t do it,” Nichelson, president of the credit union, said.

That’s why the VA Credit Union is in talks with the much larger Mid American Credit Union. Both credit unions announced Thursday that they are exploring a merger.

“I’m just excited to get it going,” she said.

Nichelson and Mid American CEO Jim Holt said the goal would be to complete a merger by the end of the year.

“That’s my dream date,” Nichelson said. “It may not be the actual date. (But) I’m real optimistic at this point.”

Holt said a number of steps would have to take place before a formal merger could proceed, including approval by the credit unions’ boards of directors to pursue a formal merger.

“Both boards have agreed to explore it,” said Holt, whose credit union has $232 million in assets, has more than 30,000 members and operates branches in Wichita, Arkansas City, Larned and Lawrence. There are still “two or three steps to get there,” he added.

Those additional steps would include an approval by the Kansas Department of Credit Unions, the regulator of state-chartered credit unions.

Holt said Mid American and the VA Credit Union have participated together in some loans, and he has known Nichelson for years.

“We’ve had a good working relationship,” he said. “There’s a confidence there that might take longer to establish with somebody you don’t know.”

Two specific things a merger would allow her credit union to have, Nichelson said, are access to better technology and a broader ATM network for its members.

The VA Credit Union was established in 1935. Its members include veterans and VA employees. Its office is at 804 S. Oliver.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.

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