Yakima credit unions to merge

YAKIMA -- Yakima Valley Credit Union and Catholic Credit Union are exploring a merger and expect to make it final in the middle of the year.

"The board has done its job to determine this will be good for the membership for the areas we serve," said Paul Regimbal, president and CEO of Catholic Credit Union. "It's a good thing. It has plenty of potential."

Before the merger can be finalized, a member vote and regulatory approval is needed, Regimbal said, adding that the two credit unions have participated in joint ventures for years. Once united, a new name and brand would be designed.

"No one is forcing us to do this," Regimbal said, adding that the national economic downturn is not a factor. "It makes sense to pursue a good business decision when we both have solid businesses."

The new credit union would have more than $460 million in assets and employ around 150 people. It would also serve about 50,000 members through eight full-service branches.

Yakima Valley Credit Union is the larger of the two credit unions with more than $280 million in assets and more than 30,000 members.

Mina Worthington, president and chief executive officer of Yakima Valley Credit Union, would head the new institution. Regimbal, who said he is approaching retirement, would stay on until mid-2012.

All other staff would retain their jobs.

According to a news release from the credit unions, the strength and competitiveness of the institutions would grow with the merger, enabling the new company to offer better rates and customer service. Money also will be saved on technology, for example, by having one core data system instead of two.

"Bringing together these two community-based credit unions is a fantastic thing for the entire Valley," Worthington said. "Our commitment to the community, together, will be improved."