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Prevail C.U. members approve merger with Lakewood’s Harborstone

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Oct. 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm with No Comments »
October 23, 2012 5:02 pm

Add another credit union to the $1 Billion Club – for a total of nine in Washington.

Members of Seattle-based Prevail Credit Union have voted to approve a merger with Lakewood’s Harborstone Credit Union. The Friday vote was approved with an 89 percent majority, and is the final step prior to the merger. The Harborstone board of directors and regulators had previously approved the proposal.

The combined credit union will retain the Harborstone brand, with Prevail subsumed into the larger operation. Known previously as King County Credit Union, Prevail offers some 17,000 members to the deal while Harborstone accounts for 53,000.

The new institution will count some 240 employees and more than $1 billion in assets, combining $782 million from Harborstone and $239 million from Prevail.
Pending final integration next year, the new Harborstone will count as the ninth credit union in the state to reach $1 billion in assets, according to the Northwest Credit Union Association..

“We just thought we’d be better together,” said Harborsone CEO Phil Jones on Tuesday “We are both healthy credit unions, This gives more branches for members to utilize, broader market share to sell products and services, and operating efficiencies.”

Jones will retain his title as CEO, while Prevail CEO Tom Graves will act as executive vice president of the combined venture.

Along with 12 branches in Pierce and Thurston counties, Harborstone adds five King County branches from Prevail.

Some Harborstone members were unsure of the wisdom of the deal, Jones said. “Some of my members have talked about how they don’t like getting so big. They like the small feel. They worry about us getting so big, but it’s a tough businesss. Our margins get squeezed. I think you’ll see more mergers ahead.”

Still, most members and his board agreed with the transaction. “This is something we’re awfully excited about,” Jones said.

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