BARTLETT and DYERSBURG, Tenn. (10/12/11)--Two Tennessee credit unions--First South Financial CU, Bartlett, and Dyersburg (Tenn.) CU--have merged, effective immediately. First South Financial CU is a $385 million asset credit union with 46,877 members. The merger will bring its 15th branch location. Dyersburg CU is a $12 million asset, community based credit union serving 3,300 members in Dyer County. It has one branch and nine employees. Although the merger is effective immediately, both credit unions will continue to operate independently until their information systems can be combined. "We hope to achieve this goal by Nov. 30," South Financial CU President/CEO Craig Esrael said in a letter to members on the credit union's website. The letter attributed the merger to the financial crisis of 2008, which brought the recession, and "sweeping regulatory changes that have dramatically affected several areas of credit union operations. These new rules and regulations have been challenging for all financial institutions to implement, but the burden is even greater on small credit unions, who may not have the time or resources necessary to make these major changes while also conducting normal business." There will be no job cuts from the merger, Esrael told the Memphis Business Journal (Oct. 10). The merger provides an opportunity for the combined credit union to grow, with Dyersburg CU members receiving access to services and products not previously available and with First South Financial benefitting from an expanded membership base, he said.