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January 17, 2024

Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, First Bristol Federal Credit Union seek merger

Contributed Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union

Rocky Hill-based Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union and First Bristol Federal Credit Union have applied to merge under the banner of Nutmeg, the larger of the two institutions, according to the state Department of Banking.

In an application filed Jan. 8, the credit unions set a June 1 target date for the merger of the 10-branch Nutmeg Financial with First Bristol, which has two branches in the city for which it is named. The merger needs approval from the Department of Banking and National Credit Union Administration.

John Holt

The two institutions have set a target of January 2025 for putting the Nutmeg name on the Bristol branches and merging all core data systems and online member-facing platforms, Nutmeg CEO John D. Holt said.

Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, chartered in 1935, has 42,900 members and assets of $565.57 million, according to the NCUA. It has branches in Manchester, Milford, Rocky Hill, Orange, New Britain, Stratford, Glastonbury, Norwalk and North Haven, as well as one for students, parents and faculty at Rocky Hill High School.

The Bristol-based credit union, also launched in 1935, has 5,762 members and assets of $108.5 million.

The merger will retain all branches and staff from both institutions, Holt said. After the merger, Nutmeg will have nearly 130 staff – including the entire First Bristol management team – and more than 50,000 members and over $700 million in assets, Holt said.

Holt said the merger will bring growth with new efficiencies and lower overhead costs, for a stronger institution able to provide an array of new products and services to First Bristol members.

“It’s going to give a lot of the members of First Bristol a lot more options, a lot of technology that we have, more branch locations,” Holt said. “We have a bigger product offering for loans and deposit accounts.”
Nutmeg also doesn’t charge overdraft fees, Holt said.

“We are going to be able to bring a lot to the table for first Bristol,” Holt said.

The merger of First Bristol into Nutmeg would continue a long-running trend of consolidation that has dramatically reduced the number of Connecticut credit unions over the past two decades, even as the overall number of credit union members and assets have grown considerably.

Holt said First Bristol has excellent management and a strong membership base, but it is difficult for small institutions to keep up with the adoption of new regulations and rapidly evolving technology. Nutmeg will shortly launch a new online platform with improved mobile apps and remote deposit features, he said.

“Credit unions and even banks often merge to provide members with more options, more value to being part of an organization that is bigger,” Holt said.

Holt stressed the merged organization will still be a “medium-sized, locally run” financial institution. 

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