NEW YORK and ALEXANDRIA, Va. (6/3/10)--The merger of First Delta FCU in Marks, Miss., with Shreveport (La.) FCU will preserve vital community development credit union (CDCU) services in four low-income counties, according to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) recently gave final approval for the merger, said the federation, which assisted the credit union for years. First Delta has been in conservatorship since Oct. 23. The conservatorship board and management worked for several months to restore First Delta to financial stability and now are confident of on-going services by the action, said the federation. First Delta worked through the years to bring homeownership initiatives, small business services, and other lifeline financial services to the Delta Region of Northern Mississippi, it said. "While we regret the loss of the First Delta FCU's independent status, we are truly delighted that services will be preserved and even expanded by Shreveport FCU, one of our outstanding CDCUs in the Southeast, led by Helen Godfrey-Smith, a nationally recognized CDCU and credit union leader," said Clifford N. Rosenthal, federation president/CEO. Godfrey-Smith, CEO of Shreveport FCU and a federation board member, noted that the merger is a great match. "The missions of both credit unions are near-perfect reflections of each other--to provide the highest level of personal financial services to underbanked and underserved communities, while encouraging and increasing the knowledge of thrift, savings, and the wise use of credit by individuals and small businesses in the targeted communities," she said. "We view this action as a business partnership with phenomenal possibilities for everyone concerned," Godfrey-Smith added. "While the decision to merge was precipitated by First Delta's very unfortunate circumstances, we believe this action to preserve credit union services to the Tri-Delta counties will be seen as one of the great decisions of this era." "From its origins as Quitman County FCU in the early 1980s, First Delta FCU has played a distinguished and important role in community development and the credit union movement in general," Rosenthal said. "People have been inspired by First Delta's tireless and innovative work to bring basic financial services to one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the U.S., and its extraordinary youth program in particular, has year after year, demonstrated the community impact of the credit union on the federation's national stage. In addition, Robert Jackson, founder and former treasurer of the credit union, has played an invaluable role as a national advocate for CDCUs." Jackson, an original organizer of First Delta who is a Mississippi state senator, said he was pleased the merger was approved because "our community will get the best of both worlds; a credit union with combined assets of $85 million, a continued alignment with our core principles of service to our members, and the added value of a broad range of cutting-edge products and services from Shreveport FCU.," he said. First Delta's sponsor organization, Quitman County Development Organization, where Jackson is CEO, remains committed to working with Shreveport FCU, the federation said. Under the merger, the credit union will be identified as the "Delta Division of Shreveport FCU." Shreveport FCU has $85 million in assets and seven branches serving more than 20,000 members.