MUNA Federal Credit Union, Pinnacle Credit Union, and RVA Financial Mutually Announce their Intent to Merge
MUNA Federal Credit Union, Pinnacle Credit Union, and RVA Financial are excited to announce their plans to merge pending regulatory approval and membership votes. If approved, the organizations will maintain their individual brands for a short time as they work together to determine a unified brand. The organization’s combined assets would be approximately $216 million serving more than 23,000 members with 5 branches across Virginia, Mississippi, and Georgia.
This merger represents a mutually advantageous partnership between three member-focused credit unions committed to providing exceptional service while offering competitive products and access to their members and the communities they serve. In a global financial sector that is changing, these organizations are committed to a collaborative pooling of resources and talent coupled with a mission to serve members, employees, and communities better.
All three credit unions are in agreement that in today’s highly regulated, high-tech environment, it is becoming more difficult for smaller credit unions to compete in everything from technology to recruiting. This is what makes the idea of smaller credit unions working together collaboratively to pool resources and do things together for the good of their members a strategy some credit unions are choosing to pursue. The idea of pooling resources is the very foundation credit unions were built on. The credit union industry remains steadfast in its mantra of “people helping people” and mergers are just one way to do this.
Biffle (Bo) Pittman, Jr., current President/CEO of MUNA Federal Credit Union states, “As the CEO of MUNA Federal Credit Union, I’m excited about this opportunity to combine 3 strong and financially healthy credit unions, combining our resources and talent for the benefit of members, employees, and communities. This partnership is rooted in MUNA’s mission to be a dedicated and caring team supporting our member's financial needs with honest, motivated, and reputable service before self.”
All three credit unions share the same core system, making a system conversion a much easier process for members and employees. “As credit unions, we are committed to our roots and the communities we were started in,” says Matt Selke, President/CEO of Pinnacle Credit Union. “We have a deep history in our community. Pinnacle is the second oldest credit union in the state of Georgia. Continuing to maintain our community feel, all while gaining efficiencies and improving the member experience through additional product and service offerings and access points, is a true win-win and we can’t wait to get started!”
The merged Credit Union will also be able to offer a 24/7 Contact Center, Home Equity Loans, Business Lending, and ITM’s, something not all 3 of these organizations are currently offering. Richard Preble, President/CEO of RVA Financial states, ”Together we would be able to provide our members, and prospective members access to even more products and services now and in the future, offer more professional growth opportunities for employees, and be able to invest more deeply in the communities we serve. We’re excited about the benefits this partnership offers and see this as the beginning of something really great happening in our industry. When you have the right partners and the right motives, it supports what this industry is all about.”
Another benefit of this merger is the fact that RVA Financial is Community Development Fund Instition (CDFI) certified and once combined the three credit unions will remain committed to serving low income communities and providing financial services to people who lack access to financial products, services, and lending.
In the combined organization, Bo Pittman, current President/CEO of MUNA would be the CEO and Regional President, Matt Selke, current President/CEO of Pinnacle would be the Chief Financial Officer and Regional President, and Rick Preble, current President/CEO of RVA Financial would be the Chief Operations Officer and Regional President.
As Member-owned cooperatives, and under the guidelines of the National Credit Union Association, full merger approval is contingent upon MUNA and Pinnacle member approval. Upon that approval, the entities will become one sometime in early 2023.
As the merger process moves forward, all three credit unions will provide information to their respective Memberships via their websites (www.munafederal.com, www.pinnaclecu.org, and www.rvafinancial.com), and other applicable communication channels.
For would-be borrowers, a declined application for credit is a boulder on the path toward their financial goals. Curql Collective, a Credit Union Service Organization, is spurring innovation to help clear that path through a new Curql Fund I investment in fintech start up Credit Mountain.
Credit Mountain is taking credit counseling to the next level by providing personalized credit counseling powered by artificial intelligence, then backing up that guidance with a suite of tools that help aspiring borrowers to improve their credit scores. For credit unions, this technology offers enticing opportunities to cultivate additional borrowers and grow their membership bases.
“In many application scenarios, borrowers who don’t qualify for high-quality loans are simply declined with no action plan,” said Nathan Pinto, CEO-Founder of Credit Mountain. “Our solution helps credit unions identify those potential borrowers who come close to qualifying and then gives credit unions a way to aid those applicants as they climb that mountain to creditworthiness.”
According to Curql Collective President and CEO Nick Evens, the solution is one that illustrates how technology can provide transformative benefits for people – and credit unions. “This is really an investment in people,” he said. “We’re excited to make this investment in Credit Mountain, knowing that it will help create brighter futures both for members and credit unions. This technology also shows how technology can actually forge stronger relationships between members and credit unions. Credit unions will be able to actively engage with these borrowers and become the lender of choice when their time comes.”
America’s Credit Union Museum has asked Anne Legg, CEO of THRIVE Strategic Services, to place three copies of her book, Big Data/Big Climb, in the Ensweiler Research Library. The placement of the book in the museum will take place in conjunction with the Sept. 29 unveiling of the HERSTORY exhibit honoring the women of the credit union movement. Legg served as a judge in the Credit Union Women Making History nominations for 2022 inductees into the HERSTORY permanent exhibit.
Legg has offered to donate the profits from sales of Big Data/Big Climb throughout the month of September 2022 to help support the maintenance of exhibit. Credit union leaders are invited to attend the unveiling of the HERSTORY exhibit at the museum in Manchester, N.H. You can also meet the author and buy your copy at the event!
“More than half of credit union CEOs are female, and that’s very different from banks,” Legg observed. “That’s incredible and a differentiator we need to recognize and use to inspire up and coming credit union leaders!”
Industry experts have called Big Data/Big Climb a must-read book for credit union management as a guide for those seeking to improve members' lives using data. This foundational primer on data activation uses the metaphor of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to provide both clarity and a framework for the subject. It cuts through techno-jargon and translates data activation concepts into a playbook for credit unions to create revolutionary member relationships.
“I’m so happy to support all credit union leaders to activate, accelerate and elevate their data to improve their members’ lives,” Legg said. “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to specifically support our female leaders through the fundraiser to help ensure the exhibit receives continued support. I can’t tell you how excited and humbled I am to have my book in America’s Credit Union Museum!”
HERSTORY is a permanent exhibit honoring the past, present and future of the incredible women making history in the credit union movement. It will be an interactive exhibit showcasing inspiring stories never heard before. To learn more about the exhibit and the tremendous 2022 inductees, ranging from current and past credit union CEOs to our credit union business partners, click here.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of Big Data/Big Climb at the HERSTORY exhibit unveiling to support the maintenance of the exhibit, or if you can’t make it, click this special link to buy Big Data/Big Climb and contribute today!
Credit Union Student Choice, the leading provider of higher education financing solutions to America’s credit unions, will host its 8th annual Empower U conference virtually on September 15th, 22nd, and 29th. The events are free and open to all credit unions, not just current Student Choice clients.
“This year’s event will include two popular veteran Empower U speakers, as well as a session focused on student lending growth opportunities,” said Michael Weber, Chief Marketing Officer for Student Choice. “With midterm elections and federal student loans making headlines daily, and credit unions always on the search for loan and member growth opportunities, we’re excited to have Bill Hampel and James Bergeron analyze economic trends and what’s happening on Capitol Hill, while tapping into credit union executives to share their insight on unique growth opportunities.”
Each event will feature expert presentations mixed with informational question and answer sessions:
“Empower U provides insight into not only into the student loan marketplace, but also what is happening at a national level regarding higher education legislation and broader economic trends,” said Weber. “We’re looking forward to another successful event full of valuable information for credit unions.”
Registration is now available at www.empoweru.studentchoice.org/.
TruWest Credit Union strengthens its longstanding partnership with Mesa Community College and support of students participating in its First Year Experience (FYE) program with a $40,000 grant and in-kind programs for the participants and their parents.
“We are honored to support the Mesa Community College First Year Experience program, reducing barriers for students and supporting their academic success,” said Alan Althouse, President and CEO of TruWest Credit Union. “This is a special program that has an impact on both the students and their families. We look forward to supporting the First Year Experience program for years to come.”
The grant covers tuition and fees for approximately 50 students and funds student leadership opportunities through stipends for FYE ambassadors for the 2022-2023 academic year. In-kind programs include financial literacy workshops for the students and their parents led by TruWest professionals.
“The workshops hosted by First Year Experience, Foundation for Student Success, and TruWest were so beneficial,” said Grace Johnson FYE student and ambassador. “TruWest and this program have been a great support system to not only me but every student in the program, and I could not be more thankful for this experience.”
FYE is a year-long program focused on providing services and support needed to successfully transition to college. Participants must have attended one of six high schools in the Mesa Public Schools system and may be first generation students or students in need of additional academic support in English, math, and reading.
"These last few years we have seen our partnership blossom with TruWest leadership and employees investing in our students through their time, expertise, and generous donations in support of First Year student success,” said Melissa Carpenter, director of MCC Foundations for Student Success. “TruWest understands the difference a college education can make in the lives of first-generation college students. They also believe in service to the local community."
Since 2019 TruWest has provided $135,600 in grants to the MCC FYE program, supporting more than 235 FYE participants.
In addition to supporting the FYE program at MCC, TruWest regularly contributes food, clothing, personal hygiene and cleaning supplies to the Mesa Market, an on-campus pantry for MCC students. In 2020, the credit union refurbished the space used for the market on the MCC Southern and Dobson Campus.
Labor Credit Union, formerly known as Department of Labor Federal Credit Union (DOLFCU), was named the 2022 Credit Union of the Year (less than $250M) by the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) last week. Labor Credit Union will be honored during NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus in Washington, D.C. September 11-14.
The winners of NAFCU’s annual awards program are chosen by a committee of peers based on entries exemplifying above-and-beyond achievements, dedication, service in the community and leadership.
Labor Credit Union was specifically recognized for its programs aimed at contributing to brighter futures by building a foundation of financial success. For example, the credit union’s “Make First Time Home Buying a Reality” grant program has had an immediate, positive impact on members by turning dreams of homeownership into reality.
In addition, free financial coaching through a partnership with BALANCE has served 1,532 Labor Credit Union members. Nineteen of these members improved their credit scores by 100 points and were rewarded with $100 from Labor Credit Union.
“This recognition of our efforts to serve the labor community is like icing on the cake of a great year,” says Thomas Domingue, President/CEO of Labor Credit Union. “In 2021, we provided our members with $3,406,830 in direct financial benefits. Just like the working people we serve; our team works tirelessly to make a difference in our members’ lives.”
More information about Labor Credit Union may be found at www.laborcu.org.
In the August 2022 CUNA Economic Update, Chief Economist Mike Schenk discusses credit union development in the first half of the year and how that compares to banks.
Highlights from the most recent update include:
The credit union impact
“Data shows that credit unions are much more likely to be consultative, to sit down with their members and have deep meaningful conversations. Credit union members were two times more likely than non-members to say that they've had a personal interaction with somebody at their credit union to talk about their financial situation. A combination of decent pricing consumer-friendly pricing and those deep meaningful conversations mean that the credit union members are more resilient.”
“But when the year is done, there's no question about it, credit union loan growth is going to be substantially stronger than what we originally predicted and the impacts the social impacts, the consumer impacts, will be stronger than we originally anticipated.”— Mike Schenk
Antonia Hock, a recognized global expert on business innovation and leadership excellence, will be the keynote speaker for ALM First’s 2022 Financial Forum, which will be held in person on September 25 – 28, at The Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Avon, CO.
Hock is the Founder & CEO of Antonia J.A. Hock & Associates, a global consulting firm focused on transformational leadership and innovation. She previously served as Global Head of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center and has held executive positions for tech giants including Microsoft, HP and Siemens. She is a sought-after speaker and an acclaimed futurist who has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and many other publications.
During her high-impact keynote session, Market Forces Challenging Leadership Today: Impact and Lessons for the C-Suite, Antonia will share her insights to help financial industry leaders tackle the biggest challenges facing leaders today and set the stage for the panel discussion on industry trailblazers later in the conference.
Attendees will benefit from Hock’s multi-industry background in technology, hospitality and consulting, which has shaped her unique perspective and philosophy around creating sustainable competitive advantages and building world-class leadership teams.
“As a trusted partner for financial depositories, we’re always searching for ways to assist our clients with the latest challenges their institutions are facing,” said Emily Hollis, CFA and CEO of ALM First. “We’re excited to announce Antonia Hock’s keynote session, which will help attendees better understand the market forces defining today’s business landscape along with the strategies and tactics leaders need to thrive in 2023 and beyond.”
Financial institution executives and board members are encouraged to attend the annual three-day conference to discover insights, formulate strategies, and gain new perspectives as they prepare for the coming year.
With two separate education tracks, a variety of industry experts and regulatory speakers, and numerous networking events, the 2022 ALM First Financial Forum is a must-attend event for everyone involved in managing or monitoring the balance sheet including CEOs, CFOs, Senior Management, Controllers, Treasury Staff, ALCO and Board Members.
Attendees may earn up to 12 CPE credits. ALM First is committed to providing unbiased advice and education, and attendees can enjoy networking opportunities without pressure from external sponsors.
To register or learn more about the Financial Forum, visit www.almfirst.com/financialforum.
Abound Credit Union was named Credit Union of the Year by the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU). Winners of NAFCU’s Annual Awards competition are chosen by a committee of peers based on entries exemplifying above-and-beyond achievements, dedication, service in the community and leadership. Abound Credit Union will be honored during NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus in Washington, D.C. September 11-14.
Abound last won the credit union of the year award in 1994.
Specifically, Abound Credit Union was awarded Credit Union of the Year (assets more than $250 million) based on its commitment to consumer education, impact on the community, and adherence to principles of sound financial judgement.
The Credit Union’s ongoing leadership in financial education has continued to expand, with Abound’s youth programs now reaching thousands of Kentucky students from elementary school through college. Abound’s adult financial education programs are also reaching more Kentuckians than ever before through new community partnerships and annual events, such as Veterans 2 Entrepreneurs.
Abound’s donation matching program, which was launched just after devastating tornadoes struck portions of Kentucky in December 2021, is another notable example of the organization’s commitment to community and contributed to the 2022 Credit Union of the Year recognition.
“It’s truly an honor to be named Credit Union of the Year,” says Ray Springsteen, President & CEO of Abound Credit Union. “I’m so proud of our Abound Team Members for their dedication to serving Members, meeting local needs in times of crisis, and empowering Kentuckians through financial education.”
Ascend Federal Credit Union Wins Best Credit Union in Rutherford County Main Street Awards for Seventh Straight Year
Ascend Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee, has been named Best Credit Union in the 2022 Rutherford County Main Street Awards sponsored by the Murfreesboro Post. This is the seventh year in a row Ascend has won Best Credit Union category. Ascend was also one of three finalists for Best Bank and Best Mortgage Lender.
“Once again, it’s a tremendous honor to win this award,” said Ascend President and CEO Caren Gabriel. “We’d like to thank the readers of the Murfreesboro Post for recognizing us for the seventh consecutive year, as we continue to provide the best experience for Ascend members. This award also reflects the tireless efforts of our employees in Middle Tennessee, and I’d like to extend my gratitude to the entire Ascend team for their hard work and success.”
Winners were selected by Murfreesboro Post readers, who cast more than 111,000 votes this year for their favorite local businesses, breaking all previous voting records. This was the seventh year the Murfreesboro Post has held the awards for Rutherford County.
The awards ceremony was held at New Vision Baptist Church in Murfreesboro on August 5. The ceremony was held in-person this year for the first time since 2019, after the award was presented virtually for two years due to COVID-19. To view the awards presentation video, visit murfreesboropost.com.
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.