Merger Announcement

The combined teams from South Bend Post Office Credit Union and Partners 1st Federal Credit Union would like to welcome you and ask that you grow with us. At first glance, we knew that we could provide products and services that were quite complimentary. But as we dug deeper, we realized our cultures, vision, and the way we strive to serve our members are nearly identical, leading us to this moment of opportunity and growth. As a combined credit union under the Partners 1st Federal Credit Union name, we can offer more services and more convenience. We can also better maneuver through the many changes the financial industry is experiencing due to government regulations, technology and more.

History

Ninety-seven years ago, employees of the South Bend Post Office formed a credit union that strived to make all members family. Our service goal has always been to provide great service with a personal touch.

Twenty eight years later in 1952, seven Magnavox employees founded Partners 1st Federal Credit Union which began modestly as the Magnavox Employees Federal Credit Union in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to provide low cost loans and encourage systematic savings.

Over the following decades, both credit unions grew as deregulation allowed us to extend our services to other small businesses or in geographical areas outside the original charter. For Partners 1st, adding member companies, along with numerous mergers of other credit unions, allowed further growth. One example was in 1975 when the North American Philips Corporation acquired the Magnavox company, the original sponsor company of Partners 1st FCU. At that point, the Magnavox Employees FCU became North American Phillips FCU and later Philips Electronics FCU. In 2006, Philips Electronics FCU changed its name to Partners 1st FCU, removing a single company affiliation better reflect the numerous employer groups and communities they served.

Both South Bend Post Office CU and Partners 1st FCU have had many successes throughout the years, and we anticipate the same as we move forward together.

Questions & Answers

What is happening?
South Bend Post Office Credit Union is excited to announce the proposed merger with Partners 1st Federal Credit Union. By joining forces, we can provide an enhanced member experience and added convenience for all members.

Why merge?

Both credit unions share a culture that is guided by service to our members. With our member-centric focus, we bring together two like-minded credit unions. A merger allows two healthy credit unions to combine their vision, experience, and resources for the benefit of the membership, employees, and community.

How will this partnership benefit South Bend Post Office Credit Union members?

The opportunity to combine operational resources and talent will enable these two strong regional credit unions to expand their branch and ATM networks. A strong combined asset and capital base will assist in keeping rates on financial products and services low, position the credit union for continued growth, and deepen community involvement. Partners 1st FCU has a wide variety of products and services to be added to the SBPOCU portfolio, including various checking account options, mortgage lending, business services/lending, certificates of deposits, and extensive electronic services – to name a few.

Is this partnership a good fit?

We believe that this partnership is a great fit. We share a common bond and commitment to our members, our employees and our communities. Led by our strong core values, together we also firmly believe in the importance of taking care of our members. It is our mission to do so.

Will the credit union’s name change?

Yes, the continuing credit union’s name will be Partners 1st Federal Credit Union. The name says it all – they strive to be an excellent partner to their membership and communities they serve.

What is the timeline for the merger?
With your positive vote, the formal merger is projected to take place on October 1. That is step one. Step two is the consolidation of SBPOCU members’ information through a data conversion to the Partners 1st system. That process is projected to take place the weekend of October 30.

Will current branches change after the merger?

Your credit union office located at 53790 Generations Drive will become a branch of Partners 1st FCU.

Will the South Bend Post Office employees I know and appreciate still be a part of the combined credit union?

Absolutely! You will see the same familiar faces you have come to know and enjoy!

How will the integration of the two credit unions be managed?

Both credit unions have been working together to develop a well-defined process for managing the integration. Beyond the continued daily service to members, the merger is top priority. Systems, policies, accounts, teams, branches, training, member communication, etc. are all being considered. The management of both credit unions are excited and confident about combining the best practices of both credit unions.

Will my account number change?
It is possible that some SBPOCU members will have an adjustment made to their member number to avoid duplicating existing Partners 1st account numbers. If your account number is one of the few anticipated duplicates, we will add a prefix (97) to the front of your current account number. Any member impacted by this issue will be contacted by the credit union well in advance of the system conversion date the weekend of October 30. For example: if your account number is 12345 it may become 9700012345.

Will we be getting new statements and, if so, when?
After the systems conversion on the weekend of October 30, the existing processor for SBPOCU will issue one last statement. After that all future statements will come from Partners 1st.

What happens to my debit card?
As a part of the merger process we will be sending new debit cards to SBPOCU members around the middle of October 2021. We will provide a separate mailing to communicate the process of transitioning from your existing card to your new Partners 1st Debit Card.

If I have already set up a direct deposit, do I need to do anything?
No, you as the member will not have to do anything. This will be something that is handled by the credit union on your behalf.

Will the institution routing number change?
Once the merger takes place, Partners 1st will have “ownership” of the SBPOCU routing number. In other words, the Federal Reserve will know that SBPOCU items need to come to us. Eventually the combined credit union will use only the Partners 1st routing number as we gradually make the necessary changes behind the scenes. We will discontinue using the SBPOCU routing number for all new check orders, ACH and wires beginning November 1.

How long will I be able to use my SBPOCU checks?
Until you have exhausted the supply. We will work with the Federal Reserve to make sure that SBPOCU checks are routed through your new Partners 1st account following the account migration the weekend of October 30. In short, you can use your checks and they will continue to clear your account. If there comes a point in the distant future (likely years from now) we may choose to replace your checks, at the credit union’s expense, so that the appropriate institution routing number appears on the items.

Will this be the only Partners 1st branch in the South Bend/Mishawaka region?
For the moment, yes, but we’re always looking for other opportunities. However, Partners 1st is a member of the shared branch network meaning you have dozens of options to choose from locally and thousands nationwide to meet you financial needs. Any time you want to know if another credit union is a member of the network visit www.co-opfs.org .

Will there be an ATM installed at the current SBPOCU location after the merger?
Partners 1st will look at what we might be able to do in terms of retrofitting an ATM at Generations Drive. In the meanwhile, because we are a part of the shared branching network, you’ll have dozens of fee free local ATMs and thousands nationwide! Visit www.co-opfs.org for the closest fee free ATM.

Do you have home banking? Mobile banking? If so, when can I start to use it?
We have both. Once again, the data system conversion scheduled for the weekend of October 30 is the key. We will provide detailed information to all SBPOCU members on how to set up home and mobile banking in a special mailing in the weeks leading up to the system change. In that communication we will give you additional insight into when you can start using the Partners 1st system.

Will I have use of Perfect Teller (home banking) during the conversion?
Perfect Teller will be available only through 5:30 P.M. on Friday, October 29. After that time, you will not be able to access or complete transactions of any kind.

If I mail my loan payment or deposit, do they need to go to a different address?
You should continue to mail payments to the same address you currently use.

What about staff e-mail addresses? Will they be changing?
Yes. On Monday, November 1, they will be using their new Partners 1st business e-mail address. We’ll be providing South Bend staff new business cards leading up to the merger with that information so that they can share.

Will the branch phone number change?
It will not. We will simply add the Partners toll free 800 number (shown below) to the mix so that you can reach us should you have a question.

When will the Partners 1st Contact Center be available to assist SBPOCU members?
On Monday, November 1st following the data system conversion is completed the previous weekend. The Contact Center is available 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon by calling (800) 728.8943.

Will my deposits continue to be insured by the NCUA?

They will up to $250,000 per share owner. But if you have, or plan on having, more than that on deposit give us a call for how to possibly protect deposits beyond that base amount. You can also visit the NCUA website at www.MyCredit Union.gov/estimator. This interactive site allows you to input data to calculate the amount of insured deposits, under different scenarios, available to you.

Will there be any change to account notices, receipts or statements?
Beginning on November 1st, all SBPOCU members will see the Partners 1st logo on all materials they receive from the credit union.

Can I use other Partners 1st branches even though they aren’t in South Bend?
Absolutely! If you see a Partners 1st branch on West Jefferson Boulevard, Fort Wayne or on James Madison Highway, Culpeper, Virginia… that’s your credit union, stop in! They will have the same access to your account information as though you were doing business at Generations Drive. Just remember, they won’t have had the same pleasure of working with you over the years, like the team in South Bend, and will need to get to know you by asking for identification.

DEPOSITS

If I have long-term share certificate will my current rates and maturity be honored after the merger?
Yes, all rates and terms of share certificates currently held by member of SBPOCU will be honored as originally contracted. At maturity you will have the option to redeem your funds or allow the certificate balance to roll over to the closest term certificate offered by Partners 1st at the current offering rate.

What about your checking accounts, any free options?
Of course! When we say “free” we mean “free”. One box of free checks annually and no service charges, monthly or otherwise, provided you keep a positive balance at all times.

What other types of deposit accounts do you have?
Pretty much just name it… savings, money market, certificates of deposit, IRA, and more. The deeper the relationship you have with Partners 1st the better rate of return some of these accounts pay.

Are there business accounts available?
Yes there are! Depending upon the business need, we have the right checking account. Keep a daily balance of $1,000, or more, and there is no monthly maintenance fee. Until the account activity count exceeds 150 items (debits and/or credits) there is no per item fees either.

LENDING

Will interest rates change on my existing loan?
Nope! You have a contract and the rate and terms you have as a SBPOCU member will be honored for the term of that loan.

What about my SBPOCU credit card?
Because the credit union doesn’t own the credit card portfolio there is nothing to transfer to Partners 1st. You can apply for a new credit card with Partners 1st or continue to use your current card.

What kind of consumer lending does Partners 1st offer to members?
You’ll have access to a full suite of mortgage lending products to refinance or purchase a home. We have a variety of personal loans, secured and signature, available for the purchase of autos, boats, motorcycles, ATVs, boats and more. If you like, you can add a Partners 1st Platinum or Rewards credit card to your credit union account relationship. All of our consumer lending products are competitively priced and, based upon underwriting including your FICO score, can even get more competitive.

Can I finance a car or truck purchase at a local dealership and finance it through the credit union?
Absolutely! We have a well-developed dealer network and have already added new relationships in the South Bend/Mishawaka market to make it easy for you to do business with your credit union. The best news is that the rate you pay at the dealership would be the same rate you pay in the branch. We want to make it as convenient as possible for you!

Does Partners 1st do business lending?
Yes we do! We have a dedicated business lending staff serving our members in Indiana. Our business lenders have experience in commercial real estate, equipment lending, operating lines of credit, fleet vehicles, investment property and more. As of May 31, 2021, Partners 1st FCU has the availability to lend up to $6.8 million to a well-qualified business applicants and partner with other credit unions to go beyond that amount covering nearly any request.

Does Partners 1st have student loans?
We partner with Sallie Mae for these requests.


These are just some of the questions that have been asked during past mergers throughout the credit union industry.

If you would like to ask a specific question not listed above, please submit it below.