By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) announced last week that it has approved the merger of Moapa Valley Credit Union (MVCU) with America First Credit Union. The merger will be effective on July 1.
“The people and businesses in Nevada are among those who have been hit the hardest by the effects of our nation’s economic storm,” said John Lund, executive vice president of America First. “The situation with Moapa Valley is another case of insufficient capital and continued losses. However, the branches complement our growth plan and service areas, so we thank the NCUA for recognizing this and welcome these newest member-owners to America First.”
America First will assume the assets, operations and most of the liabilities of MVCU. As last reported by the NCUA, the Moapa Valley Credit Union had assets of $62,384,472 and 6,744 members.
MVCU Board Chairman Richard Jones explained that the current MVCU Board of Directors and its Supervisory Commitee will be dissolved in the upcoming merger and all oversight will be brought under the America First Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee.
“At that point there will be no local representation,” said Jones.
Jones said that he fully supports the change-over and that he feels it will be a positive thing for the community.
“We went out and solicited America First,” Jones said. “They were our first choice. That’s because they have the same philosophy as far as taking care of the members as we have.”
Jones said that America First will be keeping about 85% of the existing staff running the local operations.
“We felt really good about that,” he said. “Other institutions that we had talked to about merging said that they would have to cut 50% of the existing staff. So we are happy with this.”
Long time MVCU General Manager Doug Schwartz will no longer running the credit union. In a phone interview last week, Schwartz said he was still unsure what his next step was going to be.
“I’ve been so busy putting together this transition that I haven’t really had time to think about what happens next,” Schwartz said. “Now that it is going to be done, maybe I’ll have some time to start working through those things.”
Jones praised Schwartz as a “very competent manager” in a difficult time for the institution.
“He has poured his heart and soul into that credit union for the last 18 years,” Jones said of Schwartz. “We’ve really appreciated Doug for what he has done. All of us hoped that we were going to be able to keep the credit union together. But with the economic downturn, there was just too much money going out.”
Jones encouraged credit union members to embrace the changes that would be coming through the transition. He stated that information would be sent out from America First immediately after the July 1 merger date to the membership.
“There will be some changes.,” Jones said. “The old website will eventually go down and we will all be using the new America First website. And there will be other things. But there will still be the same local people in the same local branch giving the same service.”
The main credit union branch in downtown Overton will continue to operate. America First will also continue running the credit union branch in Caliente, Nevada as well. MVCU Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) at Wally’s Plaza in Logandale and at 1501 State Highway 168 in Moapa will continue to be operational as well under America First.
“We consider it a great privilege to help improve the financial health of these new members by offering them more stability through a complete offering of the best rates and services,” said Rick Craig, president and CEO of America First. “As one of the nation’s strongest credit unions, our goal is to make this transition for them as seamless as possible.”
America First Credit Union was founded at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City on March 16, 1939 by a small group of people determined to form a cooperative to promote their collective economic well-being. In its 73-year history, America First has become one of the largest credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 105 branches, is the 12th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $5.4 billion, and the 7th largest credit union in membership in America with more than 576,000 members.