LAKE MARY, Fla.—The $1.8-billion Central Florida Educators FCU here announced it intends to merge in $174-million Fidelity Bank of Florida, based in Merritt Island, Fla.
“Fidelity has a history of providing great service to the businesses and residents of Brevard and Seminole counties,” said CFE President/CEO Kevin Miller, whose CU struck its first bank deal. “We are pleased to welcome Fidelity’s customers and employees to the CFE family. Together we will continue to provide the very best service experience to these new members of the credit union. CFE has always focused on financial education and community involvement, and we look forward to positively impacting Brevard County through this opportunity.”
Fidelity Bank of Florida will bring two additional locations to CFE, which currently has 22 branches. The bank made $1.4 million in net income through September of last year and $1.3 million in 2017, according to FDIC data.
“We are very proud of the dedicated team of bankers and valued clients we have built at Fidelity Bank, and we are looking forward to our partnership with CFE,” said Lamar Roberts, president/CEO of Fidelity Bank. “By combining the strengths of the two financial institutions, the market area of each will be enlarged and the customers of each will be better served.”
CFE FCU’s Miller said Fidelity has a track record of successful business lending in Central Florida, and the merger will further strengthen the credit union’s own business lending and deposit activities, which have grown rapidly in recent years.
“At CFE, our mission is to help our members achieve their financial goals. If there is an opportunity for us to strengthen the financial services available to these new members, you can count us in.”
The transaction, which awaits regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019, the credit union said.
Michael Bell, attorney and counselor at Royal Oak, Mich.-based Howard & Howard, who is representing CFE, said while the deal is a merger, operationally it’s the same as an acquisition.
“It’s just a legal and accounting issue,” said Bell, who has been part of 26 CU/bank deals, including four mergers of a bank into a credit union. “All of the credit union/bank the deals so far in Florida have been mergers. Florida is a state in which state chartered CUs have the power to engage in a merger. I would expect most, if not all of these deals announced in Florida, to be mergers.”