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December 24, 2020

With merger, a northern Maine credit union will be among top 10 in state

Courtesy / County Federal Credit Union Penobscot County Federal Credit Union and County Federal Credit Union’s merger, effective Jan. 1, is expected to diversify risk in a competitive environment.

After more than a year of discussion, members of Penobscot County Federal Credit Union voted to merge with County Federal Credit Union.

The combined credit union will operate under the County Federal Credit Union name and will have assets of $380 million, putting the merged credit union in the top 10 largest in Maine, with over 90 employees, according to a news release.

The merger will become effective Jan. 1. 

Penobscot County FCU, headquartered in Bangor, was founded in 1968 to serve the workers at the Old Town Mill and later was granted a charter expansion to include all of Penobscot County. 

County Federal Credit Union was founded in 1956 as Loring Federal Credit Union to serve the military and civilian workers at the Loring Air Force Base. After a name change in 1983, County serves central and southern Aroostook County. 

The combined credit union will have eight branches — in Bangor, Caribou, Fort Fairfield, Houlton, Howland, Mars Hill, Old Town and Presque Isle. 

“We are thrilled to welcome our friends at Penobscot County FCU into the County FCU family,” said Ryan Ellsworth, president and CEO of County FCU, who will take the same positions with the combined credit union. “Our united resources, access to markets and expertise will deliver an enhanced experience to both memberships.”

The decision came after a special meeting of the memberships.

Discussions to merge began in June 2019. In late August 2019, both boards of directors announced their agreement that a merger of the two organizations would improve and increase benefits to both memberships. 

“As the competitive landscape in financial services continues to change in Maine we sought to create greater value for our collective members, our employees and the communities we both serve,” Ellsworth  said. 

Members of both credit unions will be able to conduct business as usual without interruption or changes to their accounts or branch offices. 

In a November statement to the County FCU membership, Ellsworth said the partnership will provide an opportunity to achieve strategic growth and market expansion in an ever-changing competitive environment. 

“For the memberships, the combined credit union will offer greater levels of member service, diversification of risk, better accessibility and will allow us to make the right long-term infrastructure and technology investments to remain competitive,” he said.

Sometime in mid-2021, County FCU will perform data migration as well as online banking upgrades. Members will be informed well in advance of changes and will be assisted to ensure the transitions go seamlessly. Member’s savings in the combined credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration for a total of $250,000 and backed by the federal government.

In June, Augusta-based Connected Credit Union and Winslow Community Federal Credit Union merged to operate under the name Connected Credit Union with combined assets of $100 million.

Credit unions aren’t the only financial institutions with merger on their minds. Augusta-based Kennebec Savings Bank and Kennebec Federal Savings and Loan Association of Waterville also combined forces in June, to form an entity with $1.25 billion in assets.


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