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Q&A: Proposed Merger with Bridgewater Credit Union

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Upcoming Town Hall Meetings
Date:  Thursday, October 18th OR Wednesday, October 24th
Time:  6:00 - 7:00 PM
Place: 
Corporate Office, 500 Merrimack St, Lawrence, MA


Member Voting

How do I vote for the proposed merger?
Members are required to vote in person at the Special Meeting on Monday, October 29, 2018 from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m. Both Merrimack Valley Credit Union and Bridgewater Credit Union members will cast their votes on the same day at their respective locations. In order to vote, you must have opened your membership prior to July 31, 2018 (per statutory requirements). There is only one vote per membership. You will have two choices – vote “For” or “Against” the proposed merger. The Board and Senior Management of Merrimack Valley Credit Union recommend that members vote “FOR” the proposed merger.

Why do I have to vote again?
In September, members were asked to vote for the charter conversion, as required by state regulations. Now that the members have approved the state charter, this has cleared the way for Merrimack Valley Credit Union to move forward with the merger with Bridgewater Credit Union, which was put on hold when a U.S. District Court ruling in March of this year restricted federally chartered credit unions from expanding their field of membership, which, in turn, prevented our proposed merger from happening. This time, members will be voting for the proposed merger.

Do Bridgewater Credit Union members have to vote?
Yes. Their members will cast their votes on the same day as our members. On February 12, 2018, Bridgewater Credit Union members voted overwhelmingly to merge into Merrimack Valley Credit Union. Due to the setback from the U.S. District Court ruling (see Q2 above), Bridgewater Credit Union members have to vote again.

Can I vote by mail?
No. State law does not allow us to accept merger votes by mail.

Why merge?

Why is Merrimack Valley Credit Union merging with Bridgewater Credit Union?
The credit union and financial industry is becoming increasingly competitive and consolidated. The merger with Bridgewater Credit Union is a proactive step by two financially sound institutions to capitalize on their strengths, and position the credit unions to meet the current and future needs of all members. The merger will also provide synergy and cost-savings in many areas.

Who is Bridgewater Credit Union?
Bridgewater Credit Union is a member-owned state-chartered community credit union located on the South Shore of Massachusetts. It is a full service financial institution offering a variety of savings and loan products to members for 70 years and serving more than 30,000 members with $376 million in assets. It has four branches located in Bridgewater, Fairhaven, Plymouth and Quincy.

Is either credit union in financial trouble?
No. Both credit unions are financially sound and well-capitalized.

What is the advantage of being bigger?
Combining the best of both organizations means a credit union with expanded products and services, more financial assets, combined technology and personnel skills, and expanded diversification of membership.

Since Merrimack Valley Credit Union will be bigger, will you operate like a bank?
No. We will stay a nonprofit, member-owned financial cooperative and serve members in the traditional credit union manner, including community-based service.

What is the merger process and timeline?
We expect the merger to take place in the first quarter of 2019 pending regulatory approval. Once approved, Bridgewater Credit Union will merge into Merrimack Valley Credit Union. We will keep you informed of our progress.

How does this merger affect me?

How will my accounts be impacted?
Merrimack Valley Credit Union members will see no impact to their accounts, account numbers or fees. You will be able to conduct business as you always have, without any changes to your accounts or the branch locations you currently visit.

Will my account number change?
No. Your account number will not change.

Will my routing number and transit number change?
No. Your routing number and transit number will not change.

Will I need new checks?
No. You can continue to use your checks until they are depleted.

Will I need new paperwork for direct deposit?
No. Your direct deposit will not be affected.

IS Merrimack Valley Credit Union going to charge additional fees as a result of this merger?
No, our fees will be the same or lower.

For deposit insurance, are we covered up to $250,000 or over $250,000 as well?
With the state charter, deposit accounts have full insurance coverage. Accounts up to $250,000 are insured by NCUA, while accounts over $250,000 are insured by MSIC.

How will Merrimack Valley Credit Union members benefit?
The proposed merger will create a stronger credit union that offers more value than we have today with four additional branch offices. Our combined branch network will include 10 branch offices with total assets of nearly $1 billion. The combined credit union’s capital ratio will far exceed regulatory requirements. The combined deposit and capital base will result in added resources which will allow us to:
• Keep the tradition of low fees and competitive rates on loans and deposits
• Expand our products and services to meet the evolving technological needs of our membership
• Encourage membership growth in adjoining cities and towns
• Enhance community support programs

Who will lead the combined organization?
Bridgewater Credit Union’s President & CEO, John J. Howard, a former Merrimack Valley Credit Union Vice President, will become the President & CEO of the combined credit union. Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s President & CEO, Peter J. Matthews Jr., will retire upon the completion of the merger.

Will there be layoffs?
There will be NO layoffs. Employees will retain their current compensation, seniority, and receive very competitive benefits.

Will the credit union’s name change?
The combined organization will continue to operate as Merrimack Valley Credit Union in the northern territory and Bridgewater Credit Union, a division of Merrimack Valley Credit Union, in the southern territory. Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s corporate office in Lawrence will be the headquarters for the combined organization.

Are you going to close my Branch?
No branch will close as a result of this merger.

What if I have additional questions?
Attend a Town Hall Meeting at our Corporate Office, 500 Merrimack St, Lawrence, MA on Thursday Oct 18th or Wednesday Oct 24 from 6:00 - 7:00 PM. Or call 800-356-0067 or email questions@mvcu.com.

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