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Bakersfield credit union rebrands to avoid confusion

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Kern Federal Credit Union of Bakersfield, Calif., will rebrand as Strata Credit Union, effective Feb. 1, 2019.

The $250 million-asset institution said in a recent press release that the name change is partly an effort to eliminate confusion over other financial institutions in the area with similar names, such as $1.6 billion-asset Kern Schools FCU, also based in Bakersfield.

A couple of other local credit unions with the “Kern” name – Kern Central Credit Union and Kern Valley Community Credit Union – are no longer active.

“We wanted to do something special in celebration of our 70th anniversary that encompasses the foundational philosophy of the credit union movement,” Kern FCU’s CEO Brandon Ivie said in a statement.

Michelle Garland, marketing manager at Kern FCU, told Credit Union Journal that the credit union’s official name will be “Strata Federal Credit Union,” while it will do business as “Strata Credit Union.”

“We are not changing our charter,” she added.

Jennifer Brucker, KFCU VP of Sales and Membership, stated that the “Strata” name was selected because it’s “distinctive, memorable and suggests a smarter, more community-minded banking choice."

In addition, the new name is part of a plan to double the credit union’s assets over the next five years.

The credit union plans to open a third branch in southeast Bakersfield in late 2019.

Kern FCU posted net income of about $1.4 million in the first nine months of 2018, more than double the figure from the same period in prior year.

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