Achieva Credit Union announced the formation of a specialized mergers and acquisitions consulting practice group called Achieva Merger Services that will help credit unions and banks identify suitable partners, guide them through the transaction and help merge their operations.
The project is born from Achieva’s experience as a pioneer in the practice of acquiring banks, including acquiring Calusa Bank in 2015, the first whole-bank acquisition of a bank by a credit union in the nation.
“Our acquisition of Calusa helped spark interest nationwide among other credit unions who see an opportunity in buying banks, and vice versa,” said Achieva Executive Vice President Dennis Holthaus, who is leading the new group. “We’ve gone down this road before, and now we’ve gathered the experts and the resources to find these opportunities and execute transactions properly.” As a result, Achieva can provide everything from a-la-carte support to a turnkey-level solution.
For Achieva, acquiring Calusa significantly expanded Achieva’s reach in key areas of Florida and added more services, including business services for commercial clients. Holthaus now sees many other credit unions looking to expand in similar ways, but they want the skills of someone who has done it before.
The new Achieva Merger Services brings to bear all that expertise, Holthaus said, including: Identifying targets, due diligence, pricing analysis, merger applications, regulatory advice, acquisition accounting, and integration of operations and technologies.
The new service can help financial institutions in all 50 states and will be staffed by current Achieva executives who can also activate specialists, such as law firms, loan analysts and investment bankers with experience in these transactions.
Besides credit unions, Holthaus said more than a few community banks expressed interest in finding out how they can be acquired by credit unions, particularly because this can vastly expand the number of potential buyers for their organization.
“With our experience, we can help with both sides of that equation,” Holthaus said. “These are dynamic times in the financial industry, and we are thrilled to assist institutions looking to navigate these waters.”