WORCESTER, Mass. (6/10/09)--Small credit unions in Central Massachusetts have not succumbed to the mergers trend, while three merger deals are in the works for area banks. Several credit unions say they likely will remain small and independent. At the $9.8 million asset W-G FCU in Worcester, smaller is better, explained Deborah Beando, manager/treasurer. The credit union knows its members. "We work with them if they are having problems, and the majority of our members stick with us through thick and thin," she told the Worcester business Journal (June 8). It serves several employee groups related to the health industry. W.H. Nichols Employees FCU, a $1.08 million credit union serving employees of the former W.H. Nichols Co. in Devens, focuses on what it does well, said Helen Desrochers, treasurer/manager for the past 47 years. The credit union offers two types of loans: personal and vehicle. Its size prevents it from offering mortgages. Its future is tied closely with that of its corporate parent Parker Hannifin, she said. Leominster Employees FCU, a $12.6 million asset credit union based in Leominster, moves forward because of its service and its relationship with members, said Thomas Clark, treasurer/CEO. It entered the mortgage lending business through a partnership with Allanach Mortgage Group of Nashua, N.H., which offers mortgages for more than 50 credit unions in New England and Florida. Such partnerships make sense for survival and make it easier for small credit unions to stay independent, said Robert Kimmett, senior vice president of public relations with the Massachusetts Credit Union League. Small credit unions traditionally do well because they're well connected to their members but they face challenges because they don't have the same resources and personnel as larger institutions, Kimmett told the newspaper. He noted that the league helps keep credit unions updated on new regulations and legislation and provides group buying for debit and credit card programs and other business services. The cooperative nature works well in efforts such as shared ATM networks and shared branching he said. Use the link for the full article.