Gesa announces merger plans with Seattle-based credit union

Gesa Credit Union and Seattle-based Inspirus Credit Union have announced plans to merge, but it’s not yet clear what the combined organization’s name will be.

“Inspirus and Gesa Credit Union are proud of their individual brands but recognize it may not serve the purposes of a newly created, statewide credit union. It is for these reasons both organizations will conduct a comprehensive brand research study to determine the most appropriate and unifying name for the combined organization,” according to information about the merger posted on Gesa’s website.

The merger is expected to be finalized in April, but first must receive approval from state regulators. The two credit unions’ systems would be fully integrated in 2020.

Unlike a traditional bank merger, this is not a buy out or acquisition, according to Richland-based Gesa. The merger “represents a true collaborative partnership between two financially strong credit unions committed to their members,” according to Gesa.

Overall the combined assets of the merged organization will be about $3.3 billion.

Gesa members will have the added convenience of two – soon to be five – Inspirus service locations in western Washington and one additional branch in Spokane. Inspirus plans to open three new branches in Seattle, Kirkland and Bremerton in 2019.

“This merger represents a much greater presence across Washington and will provide enhanced capabilities and other significant benefits for our combined memberships and the communities we serve,” said Gesa CEO Don Miller in a news release. “There are a lot of benefits that result from leveraging the combined resources and strengths of our two healthy, well-run credit unions.  Whether it’s access to more branches for members, more opportunities for employees or more community impact, Gesa Credit Union and Inspirus Credit Union are better together.”

Inspirus CEO Scott Adkins said the merger will bring more value to its members, provide opportunities for employees and make a greater impact on the communities it serves. “With our mission and values aligned, we’ll continue to help members make the most of their money while honoring the history and heritage of both organizations,” he said in a news release.

The merged credit union will have more resources, allowing the credit union to offer more competitive rates (lower loan rates and higher savings rates) and services, and an expanded ability to invest in new products and services as desired by members, according to a joint news release.

Gesa’s Board of Directors and leadership at Gesa and Inspirus recognize they can better serve the memberships of both credit unions together and have been discussing the possible partnership for months, according to the Gesa website.

No branch closures or layoffs are planned.

Miller, who’s served as Gesa’s CEO since 2013, will serve as CEO of the merged organization.

Scott Adkins, Inspirus’ CEO, will serve the combined organization as a senior executive.

Miller has been with Gesa for more than 30 years and has served in nearly all the different functional areas of the organization. He is a native of Ellensburg, attended Central Washington University and received his master’s in business administration from Washington State University.

A Seattle math and journalism teacher founded Inspirus in 1936 in Seattle and extended membership statewide in 1949, reaching $1 million in assets by 1952, according to the Inspirus website. Inspirus, which has $1.3 billion in assets, deep roots in the education sector, nearly 80,000 members, 150 employees and six branches. Inspirus gave more than $500,000 in 2018 in support of a multitude of education initiatives such as, Green River College and DECA.

Gesa, which has $2 billion in assets, has nearly 159,000 members, about 500 employees and 17 branches. Gesa contributed more than $900,000 to community and nonprofits in 2017.

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