Growing Together: It's Official!

 

On Thursday, September 23, 2021, Financial Center Credit Union Members voted in favor of merging with Valley Strong Credit Union. After months of hard work, we are excited to embark on the next phase of this journey – combining our organization with Valley Strong. 

What happens next? As we work to fully integrate with Valley Strong, our combined team will continue to work hard to keep Members informed about what is happening in order to ensure as little Member disruption as possible. 

  • On October 1, 2021, we will begin operating for a short transition period as a division of Valley Strong Credit Union,” but for Members, it will be “business as usual.”
  • After the legal merger date of October 1, we will continue working to fully integrate with Valley Strong with a goal of having our systems fully integrated in May 2022.
  • As May 2022 nears, Members will receive a comprehensive merger support guide. This guide will include detailed information regarding any changes to your accounts, important dates, and more. 

If you have any questions that haven’t been addressed in the frequently asked questions below, contact us by phone at (800) 427-6024.

FINANCIAL CENTER CREDIT UNION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHO IS VALLEY STRONG? Valley Strong was formed in 1938 by a small group of dedicated and concerned teachers who met for the purpose of forming a financial cooperative for school employees and their families. From these humble beginnings, Valley Strong has grown and currently serves 180,000+ Members that represent more than $2.8 billion in assets.

Valley Strong’s mission is to turn people’s financial possibilities into financial realities. They work every day to create a better tomorrow. From extensive loan programs, including home and auto, to the latest in digital technology, retirement and wealth management services, and business banking, Valley Strong strives to be their Members’ lifelong financial partner.


WHAT DOES THIS MERGER MEAN FOR MEMBERS? The strategic merger between Financial Center and Valley Strong will provide the opportunity to achieve positive Member impact and value such as:

  • More products and services: Including mortgages; business services and business loans; and solar and energy efficiency loans, to name just a few. 
  • Enhanced electronic banking products: Valley Strong’s technology expertise is an unparalleled benefit that advances our capabilities much faster than we could achieve on our own. This partnership will allow us to provide upgraded digital banking solutions in the form of easy online account opening, up-to-date credit scores, account aggregation, business online banking, treasury management products, and card management, to name just a few. 
  • More branch locations: We will go from six branches to 27 branches, with plans to continue to expand the branch network throughout the North (San Joaquin) Valley. Additionally, Members will gain access to a new fleet of ATMs, and a 7-day-a-week call center (open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.).
  • Same knowledgeable, friendly employees: The staff at our branches will continue to be available to serve you.
  • More responsive to evolving financial needs: This partnership will allow the credit union to better anticipate and meet the financial needs of Members in a competitive financial services industry. 

WILL MY ACCOUNTS BE AFFECTED? There is no immediate effect on your accounts. At this time, there is nothing you need to do. As May 2022 approaches, we will convert to Valley Strong Credit Union’s operating system to enhance our capabilities and deliver a more robust product and service line to Members. Rest assured as that time approaches, the credit union will work to ensure a seamless integration.

WILL MY RATES CHANGE? The rates on fixed-rate loans and certificates will remain the same until the end of their existing terms. Other products will adjust as normal due to market conditions. With that said, one of the many benefits a merger with Valley Strong will provide is better, more competitive rates.

WILL MY ACCOUNTS CONTINUE TO BE INSURED? Yes. Credit union deposits will 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. 

WILL YOU CLOSE BRANCHES? There are no plans for any branch closures. In fact, this merger will provide the opportunity to expand our branch locations and enhance our digital Member experience. 

WILL I CONTINUE TO GET THE SAME LEVEL OF SERVICE? Both credit unions are committed to providing high levels of service. This partnership will allow us to provide unparalleled service to Members. Merging with Valley Strong represents being able to serve more Members, including your friends and family members through an expanded field of membership, and a more robust product and service line. In turn, this will allow us to meet more of your financial needs, and goals.

WHAT WILL OUR NAME BE? Immediately following a successful merger process the name of the combined organization will be Valley Strong Credit Union, a name that reflects our shared commitment to serve the valley community. 

WHAT HAPPENS NOW THAT ALL APPROVALS ARE COMPLETE? On October 1, will become one from a legal standpoint. However, this is not the date on which all of the operational processes change. The process of completing a core conversion will extend into May 2022.

WHO WILL LEAD THE MERGED ORGANIZATION? Nick Ambrosini will be the President/CEO of the combined organization. Michael Duffy will be named Chief Advocacy Officer. 

WILL THERE STILL BE FINANCIAL CENTER BOARD REPRESENTATION ON THE COMBINED BOARD? Yes! Two members of Financial Center’s current board of directors will serve on the Valley Strong board of directors after the merger. In addition, a total of five members from Financial Center Credit Union’s board of directors and audit committee will have the opportunity to serve on an Advisory Board to Valley Strong’s management team.