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Montana members debating merger with out-of-state CUs
MISSOULA, Mont. (1/4/12)--Montana First CU, Missoula, Mont., will conduct a members meeting Thursday to vote on its proposed merger with Horizon CU, Spokane Valley, Wash.

Boards from both credit unions approved the proposal in October, but some directors and members from Montana First have expressed concern about whether merging with an out-of-state credit union is the best way to help grow and serve the membership of Montana's oldest credit union (Missoulian Jan 3).

Montana First, with $60 million assets, serves its  9,700 members through two branches. Horizon, with $420 million in assets, has 38,000 members and 18 branches.

The merger would allow Horizon to better serve Missoula First's younger, technology-oriented membership, said Montana First CEO Chris Sisco.

Also, between 15% and 20% of Montana First members live outside of Montana, with 36% of those living in Idaho and Washington, Sisco said. Horizon CU has branches in both Idaho and Washington, according to its website.

All Montana First employees will be retained with similar pay and benefits, and branches in Missoula will keep the First Montana name.

Board members expressed concern about moving the Montana First's assets outside the state.

If the merger is approved, the Horizon board with be temporarily expanded to include an eighth Montana First member. Montana First members will be eligible to run for one of seven spots during the next board elections.


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