Verve plans to acquire Chicago-based South Central Bank, National Association

Verve is excited to announce our pending acquisition of South Central Bank, National Association, a bank with $300M in assets and five branches in thriving Chicago communities. The acquisition is pending regulatory approval, which is expected in the fourth quarter of 2019.

We continuously look at all options for growth—organically and through mergers and acquisitions, with an emphasis on finding partners who share our focus on building relationships with our members and passion for the community. The more we grow, the more assets we have available to pool and the better services and products we can offer to our members.

“We are committed to remaining financially stable and that strength as an institution comes from getting bigger with like-minded people,” Kevin J. Ralofsky, CEO and President of Verve, a Credit Union, said. “When we add assets and our shared focus on really getting to know members’ needs, we can offer a much richer product suite, access to more services and remain competitive on loan and deposit rates.”

Expanding into a new market provides more opportunity for credit union membership and asset growth, which means a stronger Verve.

“Acquiring South Central Bank is a very economical way for Verve to grow it’s membership area and service offerings,” Scott Willmott, Chief Financial Officer, said. “They already have an established customer-base in a thriving Chicago area, five existing branches and a strong team we get to add to our talented team members.”


A strong history of growth and members-first approach to banking

Continually growing Verve is one of our key strategies to building a stronger Verve, and in turn, stronger communities. As you may remember, Verve (then CitizensFirst Credit Union) merged with Best Advantage and Lakeview Credit Unions in 2014. Then in 2015, we merged with Community Credit Union in La Crosse and Two Rivers Community Credit Union. With its similar culture and commitment to building personal relationships with their customers, South Central Bank’s focus on serving the community since it was established in 1965 made the acquisition a natural fit for Verve.

“Smart, thoroughly-evaluated mergers and acquisitions that make sense for our membership as a whole—that’s what you can expect from Verve,” Karrie Drobnick, Chief Marketing + Strategy Officer, said. “We are committed to continuing to serve our members in a very personal, relationship-based way, no matter how big we get. You’ll still see us out and about, actively engaging in ALL the communities we serve.”

Once the South Central Bank acquisition is approved, their name will change to Verve, a Credit Union, and Verve will grow to $1.2B in assets, increase from 16 to 21 branches, and serve more than 66,000 members in 24 counties.

“Our focus always has been and always will be to strengthen the whole cooperative,” Ralofsky said. “We’re excited to partner with a financial with such a strong history of serving businesses and personal banking customers in the Chicago area, and can’t wait to deliver even more products and services to our members.”

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Member Q & A

Why a bank in Chicago and not one that is closer?

We continuously look at all options for growth – organically and through mergers and acquisitions, with an emphasis on finding partners who share our focus on building the cooperative as a whole to help us all thrive. The more we grow, the more assets we have available to pool and the better services and products we can offer to our members.

Will South Central remain as a bank or become a credit union? Will they share our name?

Once the acquisition is final, South Central Bank will become Verve, a Credit Union.

Will the credit union stay local?

Serving our members where they are is very important to us. Both Verve and South Central Bank were built on serving our members in all the communities we serve, and that commitment to remaining a local organization will continue after the acquisition. Even though this new partner is in Chicago we both are built on serving membership in all areas and this will continue to remain local.

Will the service change?

We are committed to providing our member-owners with the outstanding service you deserve both now and into the future. When we looked for a partner, South Central Bank’s commitment to their customers and personal touch alighted with the outstanding service we provide our members. South Central Bank adds even more talent and helps us continue to put members first.

How will my fees be affected?

Fees are reviewed on an annual basis. As a member-owned cooperative, our philosophy is to set reasonable fees, something that will continue into the future. If we do make any fee changes, we will notify membership appropriately to ensure you are fully aware of the changes and the timeframe of those changes.

Will I benefit from this acquisition?

Verve’s leadership and board of directors believe our member-owners will benefit the most from this acquisition. The more we grow, the more we can continue to bring new and enhanced products and services to all members, making banking with Verve even better. Our member-owners are at the heart of all we do, and we will continue to serve you the best we can.

What happens to the local employees?

We believe our team members are the credit union’s most important asset! It is our intention to keep as many team members in the offices that you normally see them in.

Will the credit union still participate in the community?

Absolutely! Our strong foundations are all built on the drive to improve the communities we serve. This foundation is what we were built on and what will continue to drive us as we move forward.

Will the hours change?

As a standard business practice we review our hours on an annual basis and will make appropriate changes to reflect the way that our members choose to bank with us.

What about the buildings/branches?

As with any business, each branch will be evaluated on a regular basis. It is our intention to provide ongoing evaluation as you would expect us to as member – owners.

Will I be able to transact business at one of the Chicago branches?

Once the data processing systems merge, you will be able to transact business at any of the five branches in Chicago just like you would at your normal Verve branch. We will notify our membership when this is complete, and the branch network is officially extended.