EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (6/15/10)--Royal CU (RCU), Eau Claire, Wis., announced that it has received regulatory approval to move ahead with the purchase of 11 AnchorBank offices. The acquisition will take place June 26 and June 27, with the offices opening as RCU on June 28. The offices, all in Wisconsin, include Amery, Balsam Lake, Centuria, Menomonie, Milltown, New Richmond, Osceola, River Falls, St. Croix Falls, Somerset and Star Prairie. Under terms of the agreement, RCU will assume $177 million in deposits, real estate loans and other assets. RCU will purchase nine of the offices and assume the lease on the other two. “This is the largest bank branch acquisition that our state and federal regulators have considered,” said Charles Grossklaus, RCU CEO. “RCU is strong, stable, and well-positioned for the purchase of these 11 in Western Wisconsin." He added, "we see great potential in these new locations.” Once the acquisition is complete, RCU will have 25 offices--22 across central and western Wisconsin and three in Minnesota’s Twin Cities Metro area, serving more than 140,000 members. RCU received approval from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Office of Credit Unions, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Office of Thrift and Supervision. AnchorBank customers will become RCU members if they continue to use the products and services it offers, Grossklaus said. It’s too early to know yet if all the customers will become members, he added. Some AnchorBank customers are apprehensive because Anchor previously merged with another bank, so this will be the third conversion. Grossklaus said RCU has received every good reception from the mayors, chambers of commerce and United Way in the communities where the new RCU offices are located. Credit unions choosing to merge with banks should be aware that the process is labor intensive. “We’ve done a lot of due diligence,” Grossklaus said. The merger also should fit within a credit union’s strategic plan. Banking terminology and technology is a lot different than credit unions,’ so it “takes a good year to get it right,” Grossklaus added. Working with NCUA was a positive experience, Grossklaus said. “They asked a lot of questions,” Grossklaus said. “They did their due diligence. NCUA really stepped up to the plate.” After the merger is complete, RCU plans to spend some time in the communities to answer questions people might have.