Business

MEA votes ‘yes’ to merger with Kinetic; transition to be finished by May 1

BY TONY ADAMS

tadams@ledger-enquirer.com

It’s final: Kinetic Credit Union and MEA Federal Credit Union are on track to merge within three months, completing the process by May 1, the two said Wednesday.

The credit unions said a special membership meeting Tuesday night was the last step needed to bring the financial institutions together, with their estimated combined assets topping $360 million and total member base at 49,000.

“Our members voted ‘yes’ to ensure they will be served by a strong, local credit union,” MEA Chief Executive Officer Polly Bell said in a statement, stressing the move “allows for the continuity and legacy of MEA to be preserved.”

Janet Davis, Kinetic’s president and CEO, will lead the combined credit union, which keeps the Kinetic name. Davis, in a statement, said she was thrilled that MEA members put their “trust and confidence” in her organization.

“We look forward to serving as the credit union for the teachers, administrators and support staff of the various school districts throughout our community,” she said.

The pending merger was announced in early December and received a stamp of approval in January from the National Credit Union Administration.

On Wednesday, the two parties said that MEA’s customers will use their existing accounts through April 30, with them being converted to the Kinetic system on May 1. Members should receive a “merger guide” soon to help them understand the process.

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When the transition is completed, both of MEA’s offices will join Kinetic’s seven local branches and one in Valdosta, Ga, thus keeping them all open. Bell will become education relations vice president at Kinetic, while Kinetic’s current board of directors will be retained to oversee the organization. Kinetic and MEA said no layoffs will occur, with the combined operation having about 160 employee.

Kinetic Credit Union dates to 1956 when it was founded as The Infantry Center Federal Credit Union to serve employees at Fort Benning. It has grown through the years, eventually opening its doors to the general public in surrounding counties — not just those connected to the military. The name was changed from TIC to Kinetic in 2014.

It was in 1960 that MEA was chartered as the Muscogee Educators Association Federal Credit Union, then shortened to MEA Federal Credit Union the following year. Its first meeting was held in a member’s home, with the operation moving in 1965 to a small office in the Cross Country Plaza area off Macon Road. The credit union has operated in a number of locations in the city through the years, with its Columbus branches today on Macon and Whitesville roads.

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