[caption id="attachment_38347" align="alignleft" width="176" caption="Patsy Van Ouwerkerk"][/caption]

VACAVILLE – After a carefully planned six-month transition, Travis Credit Union has completed its acquisition of Metro 1 Credit Union of Concord.

“Mergers are part of our growth strategy,” said Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, President of Travis Credit Union.  “We are always interested in opportunities that may arise to add new members within our service area.”

“We get calls from state and federal credit union regulators from time to time asking us to contemplate a consolidation, but it has to be a good match.”

The Metro 1 merger was seen as a cultural fit and steps were taken from the beginning to ensure that both firms were aligned for a smooth integration.

“We held weekly meetings with our combined staff and focused on open communications. We also developed a transition guide for the 50 Metro 1 member services employees that became a temporary part of our Travis team and created a separate information package for their members. Twenty-eight Metro 1 employees eventually became Travis employees.”

Metro 1 had branches in Antioch, Benicia, Concord, Richmond and Oakley. Following the merger, the Oakley branch was closed and the Concord branch was relocated across the street to Travis’ existing office at 1257 Willow Pass Road.

“Our combined organization is stronger and offers attractive rates and fees as well as loan products that were not available to Metro 1’s members. We also provide a mobile banking option including an iPhone app and now have additional branches to serve our members as we expand our reach into new communities.”

According to Ms. Van Ouwerkerk, consumers today are engaged in a flight to quality and safety, where their money is concerned, and they are saving more than they are spending. This has made it more difficult to find those willing to take loans.

“Travis makes small business loans as well as commercial and consumer loans, but we prefer to partner with other credit unions to spread our risk when making loans for large transactions, such as a business park or similar venture.”

The acquisition agreement to acquire Metro 1 was first announced on December 10, 2010, as the two firms were in the process of combining their financial records. Prior to this, Metro 1 had experienced heavy real estate losses, according to the California Credit Union League, and had been searching for a merger partner.

In the third quarter of 2010, Travis had $1.6 billion in assets and $1.42 billion in deposits. At the same time, Metro 1 (officially known as First Metropolitan Credit Union) had $177.4 million in assets and $169.4 million in deposits.

Today Travis is a $1.8 billion financial institution with 177,000 members and 470 employees, making it the 12th largest credit union in California -- ranking 67th among the top 100 in the U.S. Some 33% of its members are military personnel.

Approximately 17,000 new members came to Travis as a result of this merger.

“At the end of 2007 and into 2008, Travis had a very strong capital position. We managed to get through the worst of the downturn and come out of it still in a strong position. I believe this attests to the fact that we didn’t lose sight of our commitment to members,” Ms. Van Ouwerkerk said.

Travis’ 22 branches are located in 12 counties and include the cities of Antioch, Atwater, Benicia, Concord, Davis, Dixon, Fairfield, Merced, Napa, Richmond, Suisun, Vacaville, Vallejo and Woodland.

“In 1975 there were 25,000 credit unions in the U.S.  Now the number is down to 8,500 due to consolidations. Throughout the 77-year history of credit union’s in America, taxpayer dollars have never been used to bail out a single one – and not one has ever taken TARP money,” she said.

Travis Credit Union was founded in 1951 as the Travis Air Force Base Federal Credit Union, just 17 years after the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, with the goal of serving the financial needs of military and civilian personnel at the base. In 1974 the name was changed to Travis Federal Credit Union.

For more information, go to www.traviscu.org. The Travis Credit Union corporate headquarters is located at One Travis Way, Vacaville, CA, 95687.