CLOQUET, Minn. - The members of $196 million Lake State Credit Union, Moose Lake, Minn., gave a green light to merge their CU into $429 million Members Cooperative Credit Union, here.

More than two-thirds of Lake State members voted for the merger during a meeting Thursday night, the two CUs reported.

The merger already had received approvals by state and federal regulators. It will be effective July 1.

The two CUs said their combination is a "proactive step" to build a "stronger cooperative organization." They said the merger will allow for enhanced products and services and an increased geographical reach across Minnesota.

Lake State CU currently has branches in downtown Duluth, Moose Lake, Hinckley, Sandstone, Isanti and North Branch. Members Cooperative CU has locations in Aitkin, McGregor, Cloquet, and in the Spirit Valley, Miller Hill and Woodland neighborhoods of Duluth. MCCU noted it opened new branches in the Miller Hill and Woodland locations in the first half of 2015.

"Lake State's board and members recognized that this is a very positive step for our credit union and membership," Tim Smith, president and CEO of Lake State Credit Union, said in a statement. "Joining with MCCU will allow us to serve our members better, which is the cornerstone of our cooperative mission."

Smith will remain with the newly combined credit union through the transition and then take retirement.

Tammy Heikkinen, president and CEO of Members Cooperative CU, said, "We are pleased and excited to be expanding our credit union family. We recognized that the merger would bring together two strong, philosophically aligned organizations, and all our members would benefit from that union."

MCCU was chartered in 1936. Lake State CU was chartered in 1939.

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