Clearwater-based Achieva Credit Union has entered into preliminary merger talks with Sarasota Coastal Credit Union, the companies said this morning.
Achieva, formerly known as the Pinellas County Teachers Credit Union, has more than 65,000 members and $650 million in assets with six branches in Pinellas County and one in Pasco County. Combined with the Sarasota institution, it would have more than $800 million in assets.
Sarasota Coastal, which lost $2.7 million last year, was downgraded by ratings agency Bauer Financial from a 3-star to a 2-star institution as of December, signifying "problematic" status. The company had originally planned to merge with MidFlorida Federal Credit Union. However, Sarasota Coastal reportedly walked away after MidFlorida reneged on a promise to seat two Sarasota directors on its board.
Bauer rated Achieva as a 5-star or "superior" credit union.
Achieva president and CEO Gary Regoli said the two companies have known each other a long time, and "we've talked off and on" about a merger. He said talks began in earnest recently but was not more specific.
Asked if he was concerned about inheriting hidden problem loans or other problems, Regoli said "that's certainly what the due diligence process is all about. We haven't done any on-site due diligence yet."
Regoli noted the combined organizations would benefit from a larger asset base and improved efficiency. While Achieva focuses on serving Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, Sarasota Coastal Credit Union serves Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties.