SANTA ROSA -- Community First Credit Union will merge with Napa-based Health Care Professionals Federal Credit Union, giving Community First a footprint in Napa County and adding more than 1,200 new members with employment connected to Queen of the Valley Hospital.

The merger is expected to be completed by Dec. 1, following approval by regulators. Assets and liabilities at Health Care Professionals Credit Union will merge into Community First's portfolio, and no purchase is involved in the acquisition, said David Williams, spokesman for Community First.

Health Care Professionals' sole branch in Napa, at 1100 Trancas St., will be rebranded as Community First, offering checking accounts for the first time in its history along with services like mobile banking and other products currently deployed across Community First's five branches in Sonoma County.

Launched as Queen of the Valley Hospital Credit Union in 1967, Health Care Professionals limits its membership to employees of Queen of the Valley Hospital and their immediate families, as well as independent practitioners who utilize hospital facilities. The hospital is Napa County's largest employer.

Community First, based in Santa Rosa, counts more than 13,700 members and a field of membership that includes residents and workers in Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino counties.

Following the acquisition, the Napa branch will continue to focus on health care practitioners and employees of Queen of the Valley. Broadening the branch's field of membership to include all of Napa County would require regulatory approval, a move that could be set into motion in the near future after other work related to the transition is complete, Mr. Williams said.

Health Care Professionals Credit Union currently has two full-time employees, including CEO Valorie Pruitt. Those individuals will stay on staff during the transition, with one additional hire expected and the potential future hire of an additional loan officer, Mr. Williams said.

The Health Care Professionals Board of Directors approved the merger to assist with implementation of web-based banking and other tools increasingly demanded by customers of financial institutions, according to a release. Community First has partnered with four other credit unions as part of a "tech consortium" to expedite deployment of mobile technology and has invested in upgrading its ATMs to a "paperless" model.

Community First reported $143.1 million in assets as of June 30, and Health Care Professionals reported $5.5 million.