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ABQ-based credit union to acquire Northern NM institution

The Animas Credit Union branch at 2101 E 20th St in Farmington is one of the three locations of ACU that will soon become branches of Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union following a merger. (Photo courtesy of SLFCU)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A merger between Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union and Animas Credit Union is set to become official July 1, according to a SLFCU spokeswoman.

The merger, which began last summer, will add three branches to SLFCU and is expected to be completed in summer 2022. The deal was approved by ACU members in April.

“It just affords us great opportunities to continue to expand our footprint or business model to the benefit of more consumers in the state,” SLFCU CEO Robert Chavez said.

Two of the new branches will be in Farmington and one will be in Bloomfield, Chavez said.

“It’s an opportunity to diversify a little bit geographically,” he said.

Prior to the merger, SLFCU did not have any locations in northern New Mexico.

During the next year, the two banks will work to consolidate the accounts into the SLFCU system and former Animas locations will be temporarily named “Animas Credit Union, a Division of SLFCU,” spokeswoman Melissa Stock said.

But once the merger is completed next summer, the name will fully shift over to SLFCU and previous ACU members will be able to enjoy the full benefits of the bank.

“The benefits are quite extensive,” Chavez said.

Former ACU members will have access to better loan pricing, higher dividends, lower fees, more ATMs to access and better technology, Chavez said.

He said some of the biggest benefits are around lower loan rates for automobile loans and a greater number of mortgage loans.

Most member services will be available in July, but Chavez said services like the online banking tool will not be available until the merger completes.

Businesses could also benefit.

“(Animas Credit Union has) a relatively small business lending portfolio,” he said. “So we think we’ll be able to supplement that pretty significantly in that community.”

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