MELBOURNE, Fla. (4/29/09)--Space Coast CU has announced its intent to merge with a credit union that's in conservatorship, Eastern Financial Florida CU (EFFCU). However, regulators aren't confirming or denying any merger application between the two. "We won't confirm or deny any merger application between Eastern Financial Florida CU and any other institution," said John McKechnie, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) director of public and congressional affairs. "We will say that, like in any conservatorship, merger is an option, along with liquidation or eventual return of control to its members, and that NCUA is considering all options in the matter," McKechnie told News Now Monday. Space Coast told its members in a letter posted on its website that it had "signed an agreement that states the credit union's intention to merge." A letter of intent merely signals to membership and others that the credit union plans to apply for a merger. If the merger application is approved by members and regulators, the $1.6 billion asset Space Coast, headquartered in Melbourne, Fla., would remain as the surviving institution. Space Coast also said it has "entered into an agreement to function as interim management for EFFCU until the time of a merger." According to Space Coast President/CEO Doug Samuels, a merger would provide both credit unions with expanded service area and branches and ATMs along the I-95 corridor and beyond in Florida. EFFCU, headquartered in Miramar, is a $1.6 billion asset credit union with 22 branches and 193,000 members--the 64th largest credit union in the country. NCUA assumed control of the credit union in an effort to shore up its financial stability and protect its assets after the Florida Office of Financial Regulation placed EFFCU in conservatorship on April 24 (News Now April 27). At the time the conservatorship was announced, Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica noted the federal regulator's decision to step in and take over the daily operation "demonstrates that the regulatory system put in place to protect the members of our nation's credit unions really works." If a merger is approved, the consolidated credit union would have more than 350,000 members and more than $3 billion in assets. It would boast 60 branches and 150 ATM locations in the state. Space Coast said it would appoint Timothy M. Antonition, its executive vice president of retail operations, to act as integration team leader for the merger application and implementation process. News Now called EEFCU to confirm but had not heard back from the credit union at press time.