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Small credit unions in Montana plan merger

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The membership of Shelby Community Federal Credit Union in Montana recently approved a proposed merger into 1st Liberty Federal Credit Union.

According to the two CUs, the special membership vote on July 9 was 279 to 11 in favor of the merger. With this approval, the merger is scheduled to be completed by the end of August.

The $173 million-asset 1st Liberty FCU is based in Great Falls, Mont., and is approximately 85 miles south of Shelby. By adding the $5 million-asset Shelby Community FCU’s one branch, 1st Liberty Federal Credit Union will have seven branches in Montana plus one in Grand Forks, N.D.

Steve Grooms, president and CEO of 1st Liberty, said the merger will be a “good fit” for members of both credit unions.

"We look forward to providing the new members with a new, local 24-hour ATM, electronic banking options, additional loan and deposit opportunities, as well as a nationwide network of shared branches and fee-free ATMs,” he said in a statement.

In its most recent call report, 1st Liberty FCU had $188,358 in net income for the first quarter, off 3% from the same period a year earlier. As of March 31, 2019, it was well capitalized with a net worth ratio of 11.14%.

1st Liberty Federal Credit Union was established in June 1955 as Great Falls Air Force Base Federal Credit Union. Over the years, the CU has merged with a number of other credit unions, and currently has a membership of roughly 16,600.

In its most recent call report, Shelby Community FCU lost $77,868 in the first quarter of this year, after reporting a similar loss for the same period in 2018. As of March 31, it was considered well capitalized with a net worth ratio of 16.59%. It has roughly 1,000 members.

Shelby Community FCU lost $115,034 in 2018 and $18,760 in 2017. The last time it turned a profit was 2016 when it recorded about $2,200 in net income.

Shelby Great Northern Employees Credit Union was chartered in June 1954. It changed its name to Shelby Community Federal Credit Union in October 1959. Membership is open to those who live, work and own a business in South Toole County.

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