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TwinStar & NWCU – Better Together

In July of 2022, NWCU Board of Directors and Leadership Team announced plans for a collaborative strategic merger with TwinStar Credit Union of Lacey, Washington.

Now, we are happy to announce to members that TwinStar Credit Union and Northwest Community Credit Union have received official approval to merge from Washington and Oregon regulatory bodies and the National Credit Union Administration.

Northwest members’ approval is the third and final approval needed.

Beginning Monday, March 27, 2023, NWCU members may vote to approve this merger. Review the voting instructions here.

If NWCU members vote in favor, then for most of the year of 2023 and 2024, we would be working to join our systems, teams, and tools.

While we do this—there won’t be many changes to your services. We’ll continue to serve you as “Northwest Community Credit Union, a division of TwinStar Credit Union” or “Twinstar Credit Union”. And our friendly branch employees will still be serving the same locations.

Why do NWCU members vote? NWCU members vote because we would adopt the Washington State Charter—our TwinStar members are already under the Washington charter.

How would this merger benefit Northwest Community Credit Union members?

The combined credit union would employ 700 employees and serve 245,000+ members throughout Oregon and Washington. The strategic merger between NWCU and TwinStar Credit Union would provide the opportunity to achieve more positive member impact and value such as: Better Together. More Access: 36 locations throughout Oregon and Washington. More Value: 245,000+ members means more value returned to members through high quality products and services. Same Friendly Staff: 700+ employees means members will have the same friendly staff available to help with their financial needs and goals.

  • More Member Access: A larger branch footprint would allow us to have more impact on existing members. But bigger than that, through this partnership, we’d be able to serve more people and provide them with access to top-notch financial products and services.
  • Products/Services: As a larger organization, we’d ultimately gain economies of scale which would allow us to offer a more robust product and service line, reduce costs, and return more value in the form of products, services, rates, fees, and community involvement to existing and future members.
  • More Responsive to Evolving Financial Needs: This partnership would allow the credit union to better anticipate and meet the financial needs of members in a competitive financial services industry.
  • Enhanced Electronic Banking Products: This partnership would allow us to constantly assess and improve our technology solutions and make sure we’re providing the best digital banking solutions possible for members now and into the future.
  • More Branch Locations: Together we’d have 36 locations throughout Oregon and Washington.
  • Same Knowledgeable, Friendly Employees:The same friendly staff at our branches would continue to be available to serve members.

Why has NWCU decided to pursue a merger?

Although mergers are not our primary growth strategy, several years ago, we did formalize a merger strategy as part of our overall strategic plan. A merger between our two organizations would provide the opportunity to implement best practices to achieve more positive member, employee, and community impact and value. With an asset size of approximately $4 billion, we would have greater influence in the financial services industry and would be better equipped to keep up with rapidly evolving trends.

What does a "collaborative" and/or "strategic" merger mean?

Both organizations believe by partnering we could better serve members, employees, and the community than we would as separate organizations. The goal of both organizations is to grow our membership, leverage best practices, and enhance our products and services, building a greater experience for employees and members.

Mergers are about expanding and organizing for efficiency. This means employees have greater opportunities for professional growth, designing process improvements and benefiting from the organization’s growth in perks, incentives, benefits, etc.

Do both credit unions support this partnership?

Absolutely. We are very excited about this merger with the growth and benefits it would bring to our members, employees, and our communities.

What are the advantages of being a larger credit union?

Becoming a larger credit union would provide opportunities to increase efficiencies and return those savings right back to members in more access, greater value, new technology and services, competitive loan and deposit rates and higher levels of community giving.

Who is TwinStar Credit Union?

Established in 1937 by teachers at Olympia High School as Thurston County Teachers' Credit Union, TwinStar Credit Union has been providing affordable loans, excellent deposit rates, and great service to their members for over 80 years. Instead of enriching stockholders like banks, TwinStar is committed to serve and return the most value to members as a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution. Community commitment is also at the heart of TwinStar. They believe that healthier and happier people make great communities. TwinStar stands behind its brand promise: Realizing Financial Dreams Together. Their vision is to be a leading community-conscious organization by providing a lifetime of solutions to create financial peace of mind.

Who would lead the organization?

Jeff Kennedy would be the CEO of the combined organization. John Iglesias would be the President of the combined organization.

Would I continue to get the same service and attention?

Yes. Both organizations are committed to providing high levels of service for members and this would continue to be a focus for the combined organization.

How would my accounts be affected?

There would be no change to your accounts or account numbers at this time. Eventually, members from one credit union would need to convert to the other’s core operating systems to enhance capabilities. This is still being investigated and would not occur until sometime in late 2023 or 2024.For NWCU members, there is one change that occurs with adopting the Washington charter in the merger: Our legal financial entity registration for Washington would require a future change in our routing number—which may affect ACH and direct deposit registrations. The anticipated timeline for that change is sometime after our systems are joined and operations are combined, with ample time for members to take action. We would provide a generous timeframe for this change as well as assistance and instruction for NWCU members to ensure minimal disruption.

Would my rates change?

The rates on fixed rate loans and certificates would remain the same until the end of their existing terms. Other products would adjust as normal due to market conditions.

Would my accounts continue to be insured?

Yes. Credit Union deposits would continue to be federally insured by the NCUA, meaning you have up to $250,000 in protection for an individual account. The NCUA provides separate insurance coverage for deposits held in different ownership categories such as individual accounts, joint tenancy accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and trust accounts.

Would you close branches?

At this time, there are no plans for any branch closures. In fact, this merger would provide the opportunity to expand our branch locations and enhance our digital member experience. TwinStar branches would not be available to NWCU members immediately. As the merger progresses, we would announce when these locations would be available for NWCU members.

What would the new name be?

As of Legal Day One on June 12, 2023, credit union locations would be designated as “Northwest Community Credit Union, a division of TwinStar Credit Union” or “TwinStar Credit Union” while we work collaboratively to determine what the credit union’s unified name would be in the future.

Would any employees lose their jobs as a result of the merger?

Both Boards and CEOs recognize each credit union has talented and dedicated team members and that a successful merger is dependent on retaining that talent. The intent is to retain all existing staff.

How would this merger benefit credit union employees?

As an organization grows, so does its workforce. Our culture of seeing and investing in people would remain the same. We believe our ability to invest in the success of our people would only expand as opportunities for promotions rise, and employee ideas shape our services and operational efficiencies. The tellers and member service representatives in the locations you visit would remain in those locations unless they decide to explore a new opportunity.

What is the merger timeline?

Following the NWCU voting and pending a favorable member vote, finalized at the Special Meeting on May 15, 2023, work to begin aligning systems would start with Legal Day One on June 12, 2023.The merger process would not be finalized until systems are fully integrated in 2024.

As the merger process continues, NWCU will keep members informed of progress, including sharing important notices, dates, and events. If you have questions that haven’t been addressed in the frequently asked questions, please email or contact us by phone at (800) 452-9515.