by Cori Hilsgen
The Collegeville Community Credit Union of Collegeville and the Central Minnesota Credit Union of Melrose, with branches in St. Joseph and other locations, plan to merge by early May.
Under the agreement, the two credit unions will become one entity and operate under the Central Minnesota Credit Union name and Minnesota state charter.
Scott Eveslage, vice president and director of marketing at the Central Minnesota Credit Union, said the Collegeville Community Credit Union contacted Central Minnesota Credit Union in the second half of 2016 to begin discussions unifying the two organizations.
He said it’s increasingly difficult for smaller banks and credit unions to remain competitive in the marketplace. Smaller financial institutions are simply not large enough to afford the sharply rising costs and resources needed to comply with federal regulations.
A press release from Central Minnesota Credit Union states the merger will create a combined financial institution with more than $970 million in assets and 60,000 members.
“We are excited to combine our organization with such a strong and visible credit union partner in central Minnesota,” said Brad Opatz, chairman of the board for the Collegeville Community Credit Union. “Central Minnesota Credit Union’s financial strength, as well as our shared vision of a members-first approach to financial services, made Central Minnesota Credit Union an obvious choice when we began searching for a partner.”
Richard Odenthal, chief executive officer of Central Minnesota Credit Union, said in the press release they welcome the Collegeville Community Credit Union into the Central Minnesota Credit Union’s family as a merger partner.
“The merger calls for us to continue employing Central Minnesota Credit Union’s vision of enhancing the lives of members and community through strength, service and growth,” Odenthal said. “We welcome the members of Collegeville Community Credit Union to Central Minnesota Credit Union where all of their financial needs will continue to be met.”
He added the Central Minnesota Credit Union has a long history of supporting the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.
“As a Johnnie alumnus, I am personally excited to be able to serve my (alma) mater and extend our services to Collegeville and the surrounding area,” Odenthal said.
The Collegeville Community Credit Union has been serving residents for 79 years, and the Central Minnesota Credit Union has been serving residents for 78 years.
The Collegeville Community Credit Union has a main branch on Fruit Farm Road and a location inside Sexton Commons on the St. John’s University campus, which will remain open. The Central Minnesota Credit Union has locations in St. Joseph, Albany, Avon, Belgrade, Cold Spring, Freeport, Grey Eagle, Holdingford, Little Falls, Long Prairie, Melrose, Moorhead, New York Mills, Paynesville, Perham, Sauk Centre and Wadena. An administrative center is located in Melrose and a service center is located in St. Joseph.
The St. Joseph branch location opened in January 2010 and the service center opened in January 2016.
Employees at the service center work in the contact center, mortgage-loan processing, deposit operations and the electronic-services group.
All locations will operate under the Central Minnesota Credit Union name.
Products and services offered will include consumer checking, savings, loans, credit cards, Internet and mobile banking, agricultural and business loans and products, in-house mortgage services, enhanced electronic services such as mobile banking and deposits, Apple Pay and e-alerts.
Central Minnesota Credit Union is a major agricultural-lending credit union in Minnesota and is a Minneapolis Star Tribune award-winning workplace with more than 300 employees.
The boards of directors for both credit unions have approved the merger, which is pending state regulatory approval.
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.