Ferndale Refinery Credit Union, Industrial Credit Union of Whatcom County Announce Merger Plans

As a summer that has seen a seemingly constant stream of credit union mergers in the Northwest begins to fade into autumn, the trend of credit unions joining forces in the region shows no sign of slowing.

Ferndale Refinery Credit Union (FRCU) members voted in a special meeting on Aug. 14 to approve a merger into Industrial Credit Union of Whatcom County, effective Oct. 1.

“We began looking at the possibility of a merger several months ago,” FRCU Board Chair Mike Firos said at the membership meeting. “Our credit union is financially very strong. But as with many small credit unions, we are finding it increasingly difficult to remain compliant with all of the new regulations without a significant increase in our expenses. Our board of directors recognized that in order to serve our members to the best of our abilities, we needed to find a partner.”

According to Firos, Industrial represented the best match.

“After considering all of the credit unions in the area, evaluations showed that our two credit unions had the most in common,” he said.

For FRCU, the merger represents an opportunity to provide its membership with many additional services, such as online banking, real estate loans and access to seven branches located throughout the community. This has been a common refrain for credit unions finding themselves forced to achieve an economy of scale in order to meet growing costs and provide a full suite of services.

UFCW Northwest Federal Credit Union merged into Northwest Community Credit Union in early August for the same reason. Horizon Credit Union’s July merger with Montana First Credit Union and Kitsap Credit Union’s merger with nearby Quimper Community Credit Union in June each represented similar cases of smaller credit unions seeing the writing on the wall.

Of course, FRCU’s members will not be the sole beneficiaries. Industrial members will see the benefit of FRCU’s already-established credit card program and ACH origination, both of which will be continued following the merger.

“We look forward to welcoming FRCU members into the ICU family. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved,” said Industrial CEO Terri Salstrom, “and we are excited to have FRCU CEO Susan Prosser join our team.”


Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor: mhalvorson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News.