Charlotte Metro to approach $1B of assets with merger

Members of Greensboro, N.C.-based Premier Federal Credit Union will vote next month on whether to merge into Charlotte Metro FCU, headquartered in Charlotte.

Under the deal the combined institution would have assets of nearly $1 billion and serve more than 90,000 members. The combination would also provide a broader array of products and services for members of $222 million-asset Premier FCU, while broadening Charlotte Metro’s reach. The two cities are about 90 miles apart.

This transaction represents the latest in a wave of merger activity across the Tar Heel State in recent years that has increased competition among banks and credit unions there. Perhaps most notably, Truist Financial, the result of a merger between BB&T and SunTrust banks, is headquartered in Charlotte, and other major bank deals have also touched the city. The state has been at the center of so much consolidation that in 2017, Winston-Salem-based Truliant Credit Union – today the third-largest credit union in North Carolina – launched a marketing campaign that promised it would never merge.

If approved, the Premier-Charlotte Metro merger is expected to take effect in June, but Premier will operate under its current branding until at least the end of July. Charlotte Metro plans to rebrand after the merger, according to an online FAQ, but a date for that has not yet been set.

Membership at Premier is open to employees of more than 500 groups across the state and consumers living within certain communities. Charlotte Metro is open to consumers in 10 counties across North and South Carolina. It is unclear if Guilford County, N.C., where Premier FCU is located, will be added to Charlotte Metro’s field of membership. Representatives there did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

All Premier FCU branches will remain open and all employees will be offered jobs at the combined institution, with Charlotte Metro CEO Bob Bruns at the helm. Premier CEO Lori Thompson will take over as chief operating officer of the credit union once the merger is complete. She will receive some a 12% salary increase as part of the deal, along with some other added compensation. Some Premier executives may also get raises, but none will exceed 15%, according to a regulatory filing.

Premier FCU earned about $361,000 in 2020, down from nearly $2 million the year before, due in part to rising expenses and reduced loan income.

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