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Coronavirus continues to delay small Illinois credit union's merger vote

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IRSE Credit Union of Springfield, Ill., is planning to merge into Peoria-based Cooperative Choice Network Credit Union later this summer.

The deal was originally expected to close by July 1 but Katy Brown, president and manager of IRSE CU, said that date has been pushed to August 1. A member vote is currently scheduled for July 9, however that date continues to be pushed back due to statewide restrictions as a result of the coronavirus.

"We have to keep putting it off because of the restrictions in Illinois," Brown said.

Among the benefits IRSE members will gain are access to the CO-OP ATM network, mobile banking, home equity loans, instant-issue debit cards, automated loan approvals and more. IRSECU’s field of membership will not change, according to a notice to members, and the credit union will continue to serve employees of the Internal Revenue Service and other respective communities. That notice admitted the credit union's FOM was "stagnant at best, and our membership has actually been declining." Despite some limited profitability, the credit union has not earned enough money to be able to afford the technology necessary to expand service offerings available to those it serves, the note added.

Tory Eckstein, CEO of the $131 million-asset CCNCU, will remain CEO of the merged entity while Brown’s role is still to be determined. The IRSE brand will be maintained as "a dvision of" Cooperative Choice Network Credit Union.

All employees of the $8.3 million-asset IRSECU will be retained. Call report data shows that the credit union earned $7,433 in net income through the first quarter of 2020, its most profitable first-quarter filing in several years.

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