BERLIN, N.H. — Guardian Angel Credit Union's members approved a proposed merger with $2.4 billion Service CU, Portsmouth, N.H.

The $42 million Guardian Angel CU said that of the members who voted, more than 95% approved of the merger, which will go into effect Jan. 1. Members were able to vote by mail or at a special meeting held Dec. 9. The merger was previously approved by both CUs' boards and state regulators.

Founded in 1929, Guardian Angel Credit Union was started by parishioners of Guardian Angel Church, here, and was known as La Caisse Populaire L'Ange Gardien. It has branches in both Berlin and Lancaster. According to its most recent call report, Guardian Angel has 4,563 members.

The leadership at Guardian Angel cited "increased competition and economic pressures of the past few years" as the main reason for the merger, stating in a press release the CU "has found it increasingly difficult to continue growing and providing all the products" that its members need.

"Guardian Angel Credit Union is looking forward to joining Service Credit Union," said Gerald Dumoulin, president and CEO of Guardian Angel CU. "After much thought and due diligence, our board fully supported the merger proposal and we are very pleased that the vast majority of our voting membership agreed."

Following the merger with Service CU, the Berlin and Lancaster offices will remain open and all of its employees will continue to serve Guardian Angel's membership, the CU said.

Service CU noted the merger expands its field of membership to include Coos County, meaning it now can serve anyone living or working in the state of New Hampshire, four towns in Massachusetts and all branches of the US military and Department of Defense employees and their families.

Service CU said it plans to move over Guardian Angel CU accounts in May. Guardian Angel CU members will be able to conduct their business at any Service CU branch, online or by phone after the May conversion.

A dedicated Service CU teller line is scheduled for later in January, so the current Berlin and Lancaster branches of Guardian Angel will be able to serve the Service Credit Union membership in that area.

"We are extremely pleased that the Guardian Angel Credit Union membership voted to merge into Service Credit Union" said Gordon Simmons, president and CEO of Service Credit Union. "We look forward to serving Guardian Angel Credit Union members with the exceptional member service and community support that they have become familiar with."

Service CU has more than 198,000 members worldwide.

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