ORNL Federal Credit Union (ORNL FCU) and Lowland Credit Union (LCU) recently announced their intent to pursue a merger. The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024, pending regulatory and member approval.
“LCU has been a pillar of the communities in which they serve, providing valuable financial products and services and a member-focused experience for over 70 years,” said Jenny Vipperman, president & CEO of ORNL FCU. “We look forward to our combined organization continuing to provide unmatched value and service to our shared members and communities for many years to come.”
“Credit unions are unique in that they support each other instead of competing against each other, and over the years, ORNL FCU has been a good friend and neighbor to us,” said Mark Creech, president & CEO of LCU. “They have a reputation for being member- and community-focused, and their community charter overlaps ours almost perfectly.”
ORNL FCU celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, and serves nearly 200,000 members in 19 counties in East Tennessee, including Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, and Jefferson counties. With their nearly 150 years of combined history, the credit union will serve approximately 210,000 members with 31 branches throughout East Tennessee, and assets will exceed $3.7 billion.
In addition to providing LCU members with an expanded branch network, the merger will provide a strengthened member service experience. LCU members can expect an array of products and services at competitive rates, a 24/7 call center, and industry leading mobile and online banking platforms.
LCU hosted an all-employee town hall on January 24 during which Creech and Vipperman shared the exciting merger news. Both credit union CEOs emphasized the importance of retaining LCU employees in the combined credit union. To demonstrate this commitment, all employees of LCU are guaranteed a job at the combined credit union with equal or greater pay and benefits, opportunities for remote work, and a retention bonus. Employees will further retain their tenure, and all time off balances will fully transfer.
“We believe deeply in the credit union movement’s mission of ‘People Helping People’,” said Vipperman. “Our employees are our most valuable asset in serving our members, and we look forward to welcoming the employees of LCU into our organization.”
The organizations’ goal is to merge the operations of LCU fully into the operations of ORNL FCU by September 30, 2024. Vipperman added that “a merger furthers the strategic objectives of both organizations and is in the best interest of our respective memberships.”
Creech stated that the Board of Directors for both credit unions voted unanimously in favor of a merger.
“As a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative, our members will have the opportunity to vote for the merger once we receive approval from regulators,” said Creech. “We look forward to our credit unions joining forces to bring the strengths of both organizations to our shared membership.”
About Lowland Credit Union
Established in 1953, Lowland Credit Union is a state-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Hamblen, Jefferson, Cocke, or Grainger counties or Greeneville City, Tennessee. Serving members in three branch locations, Lowland Credit Union has over 10,000 members and over $140 million in assets.
About ORNL Federal Credit Union
ORNL Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative locally owned and operated by its members for the benefit of all who belong. Established in 1948 with 10 founding members, ORNL Federal Credit Union’s assets have grown to over $3.65 billion and membership has grown to over 195,000. Open to businesses and anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in 19 counties of East Tennessee, ORNL Federal Credit Union currently serves members in 28 branches and through digital channels.