Press "Enter" to skip to content

John Dwyer and Arthur Woolf: Vote for the NEFCU/VSECU merger


This commentary was written by New England Federal Credit Union President and CEO John J. Dwyer Jr. and Arthur G. Woolf, the NEFCU board chair.

As the president and chief executive officer and board chair of New England Federal Credit Union, we believe that our members, staff and the communities we serve should fully understand the value of the merger with Vermont State Employees Credit Union. It is also important to clarify why it is in the best interest of these constituents and each credit union, as well as for Vermont, to support the merger. 

The priorities of both VSECU and NEFCU are to serve the financial well-being of their members with relevant and fair-priced financial services, to offer strong employment options, and to give back to Vermont communities and constituents. 

The banking industry is consolidating rapidly because costs are going up and income is under pressure. Many local Vermont banks have been acquired by large out-of-state banks in the past decade, including well-known brands like the Chittenden Bank/Peoples United, Merchants, BankNorth and others. This trend will continue because larger banks can spread fixed costs over greater asset and customer bases to offer better rates, lower fees, and more delivery options.  

NEFCU and VSECU, the two leading credit unions in Vermont, must evolve to effectively compete with out-of-state banks while continuing to provide the best products and services to members. This is no small challenge. In a world where consumers’ expectations have risen, competitive rates, in-person, telephone, and multichannel digital services, fast responses, and local representation are requirements. 

Small banks and credit unions can offer some of these but face significant challenges in offering multiple points of value. When the consumer makes a choice, the local factor is often overlooked. Therefore, the combination of two of the largest Vermont credit unions is very important. 

By voting for the merger, VSECU members have a one-time opportunity to accomplish two critical goals: maintaining local ownership while gaining scale to better compete with larger, out-of-state financial institutions. 

The merger benefits members, staff, both credit unions and the communities they serve in many specific ways:

  • Statewide branch delivery for all members.  
  • Better rates, terms, and products that each now offers become available to all.  
  • Greater investment power in future delivery, digital experiences, and remote servicing of loans and deposit accounts. 
  • Becoming one of Vermont’s leading employers.

That last bullet is especially important. Staffing is a pressing challenge both credit unions face, given that employees can live in-state while working for large, out-of-state companies. Simply put, scale produced by combined resources enhances the ability to attract talented workers. 

Representing NEFCU, our number one priority is to maintain the local, affordable, relevant and trustworthy services members expect and deserve. In addition, we will continue to create meaningful opportunities both for our employees and the communities we serve. The significant time we have spent with VSECU leadership has affirmed that these are also their priorities. 

NEFCU and VSECU are robust credit unions with long, rich histories of serving Vermonters. Both have strong balance sheets, proven leadership, and years of steady, dependable growth. That commitment to members’ financial success has made them the state’s two largest credit unions. Such performance speaks for itself. Now, in this time of great change, voting for the merger will create an even stronger and more dynamic credit union equal to the financial industry’s rapidly evolving challenges.

Did you know VTDigger is a nonprofit?

Our journalism is made possible by member donations. If you value what we do, please contribute and help keep this vital resource accessible to all.

Filed under:

Commentary

Tags: , , , , ,

Commentary

About Commentaries

VTDigger.org publishes 12 to 18 commentaries a week from a broad range of community sources. All commentaries must include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and a brief biography, including affiliations with political parties, lobbying or special interest groups. Authors are limited to one commentary published per month from February through May; the rest of the year, the limit is two per month, space permitting. The minimum length is 400 words, and the maximum is 850 words. We require commenters to cite sources for quotations and on a case-by-case basis we ask writers to back up assertions. We do not have the resources to fact check commentaries and reserve the right to reject opinions for matters of taste and inaccuracy. We do not publish commentaries that are endorsements of political candidates. Commentaries are voices from the community and do not represent VTDigger in any way. Please send your commentary to Tom Kearney, [email protected]