Advantis + Rivermark

Merger resources and FAQ

Advantis and Rivermark announce merger agreement

Following a thorough due diligence process that met the satisfaction of both credit unions, Advantis and Rivermark Community Credit Union have signed a merger agreement, and plan to unite as one credit union in the latter part of 2024. Members will see no changes until late 2024 or 2025. 

Together, we can do more good – for our members and our community. As a result, the merger has the unanimous support of the boards of both institutions (comprised of Advantis and Rivermark members), as well as their respective CEOs and leadership teams.

Next, the two credit unions are jointly applying for, and expect to receive, state and federal regulatory approval for the merger. We'll then reach out for a required vote by Advantis members. As a member-owned credit union, the final decision is up to our members. The merger must have the approval of a majority of the members of the credit union voting on the proposal. Following these steps, legal merger of both credit unions is likely to occur in Q3 or Q4 of this year.

  • Members will see no changes in the immediate future, and likely not until late 2024 or early 2025.

  • No action is required on members’ part at this time.

  • If you’re a new member joining Advantis, you can look forward to even more benefits, and you can  open your new accounts today.

  • We’ll be in touch with further updates, including announcement of the member vote.

  • Please review the member benefits and FAQ below for more information.



Watch all the merger videos

From the boardroom to the branches, catch up on the latest videos and learn what our proposed merger means for the members, employees, community, and leadership of Rivermark and Advantis.

































Member benefits

Three big reasons for this merger

Advantis and Rivermark are pursuing this merger because of the impact we can create, together. It will give us the scale and financial resources to:

  • Deliver more benefits to our members, faster – including more locations, advanced technology offerings, and enhanced products and services.
  • Break out in a crowded market to do more good. There are 65 credit unions and banks in the Portland metro area. A combined credit union, at 180,000 members strong and $3.4 billion in assets, will give us the scale to serve our members and our community with greater impact.
  • Become the leader in fostering financial wellness for our members and the broader community in Oregon and SW Washington, including historically marginalized and underserved communities.

We’ll be able to deliver more member benefits, faster.

Twice the branches + extended teller hours. Members will have access to 19 branches in Oregon and SW Washington with extended teller service hours (M-F, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.). That’s twice the locations to get financial coaching and guidance to help you reach your goals. No branches will be closed.

Video banking + extended phone support. Extended contact center hours (M-F, 8 am – 8 pm; Sat., 10 am – 6 pm). Plus a new video banking service. Connect with us by video from the comfort of your home.

Enhanced products and services. We expect to be able to return more value to members in the form of better products and services, market-leading rates, low fees, and free services.
Improved digital banking. We’ll have the resources to invest in more technology, providing members with improved digital tools, now and in the future.
Financial coaches at your service, at a branch or via video. Financial wellness is important at both credit unions, and this creates a multiplying effect. With more than 75 FiCEP-certified financial coaches across both organizations, including over 20 bilingual coaches, we’ll meet members wherever you are on your financial journey.
Greater impact for your community. Advantis and Rivermark have established a combined purpose: to transform lives and communities, together. That may sound like a tall order. But we’re up to the task, with financial coaching and wellness programs, philanthropic giving, volunteerism, non-profit partnerships, and much more.
Same knowledgeable, caring employees. We’re not going anywhere. You’ll see the same friendly faces, just in more places.






 

Advantis Board of Directors



Advantis Board of Directors
Advantis Audit Committee


Our board is a talented group of Advantis members with a diverse range of skills, business backgrounds, community involvement, and knowledge of credit unions and financial services.

They unanimously endorsed the proposal to merge with Rivermark, and we asked each member about their experience as a member, and why they support the merger. See what they had to say




 

FAQ

What stage of the merger process are Advantis and Rivermark in?
We’ve made substantial progress; however, a few important steps remain. While subject to change, if everything continues forward without major delay, here’s a general timeline:

  • First half of 2024: Applying for and expecting to receive regulatory approval
  • Last half of 2024: Advantis members vote on merger following regulatory approval
  • Last half of 2024: Following a successful Advantis member vote, the credit unions will legally merge
  • Remainder of 2024 into 2025: Work to combine the systems and operations of the two organizations

When will it all be done? How long is it going to take?
As shared above, the timing is variable and it’s challenging to forecast this with high specificity. We know, based on other mergers in the industry, that it will take approximately 6 to 9 months to achieve regulatory and member approval and complete a legal merger. After that, we will keep all our members of the newly merged entity informed about each step in the process as we combine systems and products. We anticipate the legal merger will be completed by the latter part of 2024, with work to combine systems going into 2025.


Are both institutions financially strong?
Yes. Both Advantis and Rivermark are exceptionally safe and strong. Both have capital (or a rainy-day fund) exceeding the regulatory standard for “well-capitalized” credit unions, and continually operate within the regulatory definition of “safe and sound” practices. We also both have a strong liquidity position and maintain a balanced loan-to-deposit ratio. The strong safety and soundness of both credit unions only reinforced the Board’s and leadership’s interest in merging.


What does this mean for my accounts/loans/online banking access?
There will be no potential changes to accounts, loans, or online banking access until late 2024 and/or 2025. While we can’t yet relay specifics regarding accounts at this early stage, please be assured that we’ll be bringing forward the best product offerings from both credit unions. You’ll continue to enjoy the same or improved products and online banking solutions you have today. 


Will I have to change my online banking/mobile app?
This is still to be determined, and there will be no potential change until late 2024 and/or 2025 (if there is a change). We know how important online and mobile banking is for our members, and we will be working very carefully to determine which of our two systems best serves our members’ needs going forward. Once we have determined that, we will work closely with all the members on the other system to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible.


What about new products and services?
Members have been asking for more products and services for some time, however, with our limited resources we have only been able to offer one or two new products per year. With the merger, we will have a whole host of new products where we can select the best from both organizations to offer going forward. So, this will mean new options for accounts and loans to better meet our members’ needs.


Will any features or fees change on my accounts?
There will be no change to account features or fees until late 2024 and/or 2025. As a larger combined institution, Advantis and Rivermark will continue to provide market-leading rates, low fees, and more free services to our members. While we won’t be making any account changes until at least late 2024 and don’t have these details yet, please be assured we’re focused on continuing to bring you the financial value you’ve come to expect! The rates on fixed-rate loans and certificates will remain the same until the end of their existing terms.


Will I have to change my member number?
This has not yet been determined, however, there will be no potential change to your member number (if applicable) until late 2024 and/or 2025. It’s too early to know what changes we may need to make to current member numbers, however, if a change is necessary we’ll keep any work on your part as minimal as possible. This means giving you plenty of advance notice, helpful guidance, and dedicated support before any change begins.


What if I recently ordered checks or plan to soon?
We are working diligently to make this merger as seamless as possible for you, and whether an account change will be needed is still to be determined. If an account change is needed, it wouldn’t happen until late 2024 or 2025, so please continue to order and/or use Advantis checks as you normally would. If you have unused checks that need to be replaced due to an account change in the future, Advantis will cover the cost. If there are no account changes, your Advantis checks will continue to work and will not need to be replaced. We will follow up as we have more information.


When can I start using Rivermark branches?
Rivermark branches will not be available to Advantis members until after legal merger and the integration of our systems (likely 2025). We know you’re excited about 2X the branches and appreciate your patience! We’ll let you know as soon as the 19-branch network is available to all members. This was one of the strongest benefits of this merger, and soon you’ll be able to enjoy new branches in Vancouver, Happy Valley, the Dalles, and other areas Advantis doesn’t currently have a branch!


Can we still use other credit union (CO-OP) ATMs?
Absolutely! You will still have access to all the CO-OP ATMs at no charge, even after the merger, as both organizations are part of the CO-OP ATM network.


Will my accounts continue to be insured?
Yes. Credit Union deposits will continue to be federally insured by the NCUA, meaning you will still have up to $250,000 in protection for an individual membership. The NCUA provides additional, separate insurance coverage for deposits held in different ownership categories such as individual accounts, joint tenancy accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and trust accounts.


How will this merger impact my insured funds, especially if I have combined deposits above $250,000? What if I have accounts at both Advantis and Rivermark?

Members accounts will continue to be fully insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) to at least $250,000 per individual post-merger. And while we understand that insurance brings important peace of mind, you should also know that no depositor has ever lost a penny on insured accounts at any federally insured credit union in the United States. This is especially true given the exceptional financial strength of both Advantis and Rivermark.

If a member has over $250,000, including within accounts at both credit unions, there are options for additional share insurance coverage as well, as the NCUSIF provides separate additional insurance for other accounts and ownership structures, such as individual accounts, joint accounts, individual retirement accounts and trust accounts. If you have funds exceeding $250,000 and would like the peace of mind of additional insurance, we welcome you to reach out to a member advisor as we approach the time of legal merger (or shortly after). They can provide resources that will help you determine how you’d like to structure your accounts to maximize your share insurance above $250,000. An excellent resource for members to review now is NCUA’s Share Insurance FAQ. There are also special rules that apply to mergers to the benefit of members. For example, both Rivermark’s and Advantis’ member accounts will be separately insured for six months after the legal merger date, and in the case of Certificates of Deposit (CD), will continue to be separately insured based on the earliest maturity date after the six months period. This gives our members plenty of time to work with a member advisor to determine the best insurance coverage to meet their needs!


Do I need to do anything? Is this change going to require work on my part?
No, there is nothing you need to do at this time. We will not make any account improvements or changes until late 2024 and/or 2025, well after our legal merger date. It will be our top priority to make any transitions as seamless as possible. We’ll keep any work on your part as minimal as possible, giving you plenty of advance notice, helpful guidance, and dedicated support before any change begins.


Is Advantis being acquired by Rivermark?
No, neither credit union is taking over the other. This is a true merger of equals, with two credit unions uniting as one and bringing forward the best of both into a combined organization. The discussions and decisions to get to this point have been entirely collaborative in nature, have the unanimous support of both boards of directors (made up of Advantis and Rivermark members) and respective leadership teams, and we’re both excited about the potential of what we can achieve together. While the new combined credit union will be named Rivermark and assume the Rivermark charter, Advantis’ CEO Jason Werts will continue to serve as the President & CEO and Advantis will hold an initial 6-5 board majority of the merged credit union. These mutually agreed upon decisions and conditions reinforce the equal manner in which we are merging and the fact Advantis is not being acquired.


Which members are voting on this merger?
Following the legal merger, Advantis will assume Rivermark’s charter, which means Advantis members will vote on this merger to move forward (as required by regulation). In every credit union merger, one of the credit unions must assume the charter of the other, with it being referred to as the “continuing credit union.” This reference should be considered in the strictest legal sense (related to the charter only) and does not mean Rivermark is acquiring Advantis ─ we will combine our assets, resources, and staff as equal partners.


Why is Advantis assuming Rivermark’s charter?
Rivermark has been certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. CDFIs are mission-driven organizations that focus on serving low-income and underserved communities, and allows for the credit union to secure additional grants to do highly impactful work in the community. The CDFI certification is tied to Rivermark’s charter, which means the merged credit union will have a much greater chance of maintaining this highly sought after designation.


Why is it important for Advantis members to vote in favor of approving the merger?
Your vote is how you share your voice in this important decision. To stay relevant to current and future members and to continue fulfilling our mission and vision, we see a strategic opportunity to join forces with another credit union to accelerate our ability to serve our collective membership base, and many new members. This will significantly improve our ability to serve existing members through new branch locations, extended service hours, and new products and services, while we also reach out to more underserved areas and populations. All of this will be available much sooner than if we didn’t merge. So, it is in all of our members’ best interests to vote in favor of the merger.


I’ve been an Advantis member for many years. What if I’m concerned about things changing?
We hear you, and we want to affirm that the core values you appreciate about being an Advantis member will not change. As our CEO shared in a recent letter to members, we don’t take the decision to consider a merger lightly. We have deep respect for Rivermark Community Credit Union and the substantial impact they bring to those they serve. Just like Advantis, they are a local, member-owned cooperative, and together we want to become the leader in providing financial wellness to our members and community. It’s our vision, and our north star as we join forces to do more good.


Will I continue to get the same level of service?
Both organizations are committed to providing exceptional member service, and this will continue to be a focus for the combined organization. The same staff members you enjoy working with now and have gotten to know over the years will still be here to serve you after the merger. But you’ll also have the opportunity to meet and work with new staff at different locations, via video teller services, and on the phone. They’ll all work hard to serve your financial needs and get to know you.


Do Advantis and Rivermark share similar values?
Yes! In fact, we’d be hard-pressed to find another organization that is more like (each of) us. Both credit unions have deeply held values around providing financial empowerment and advocacy for its members, supporting and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, and making a difference in our communities. We also share a deep commitment to better serving historically marginalized and underserved communities. We’re proudly progressive and inclusive – as financial institutions, employers, and community partners.


Who is Rivermark? Do they have a long history of serving the community like Advantis?
Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon and founded in 1951, Rivermark Community Credit Union holds over $1.4 billion in assets and serves 90,000 members. Rivermark’s mission is “Building Financial Empowerment Together” by providing members with the confidence to make good financial choices with consistently superior financial solutions and trusted advice. For more information, visit www.rivermarkcu.org.

Like Advantis, Rivermark was founded decades ago, formed by a group of co-workers committed to pooling their resources to support each other with affordable loans and stronger savings rates. Our beginnings were with city and county and power company employees, and Rivermark’s were with grocery store employees (Safeway). While our member bases were different, each credit union had – and continues to have – a strong commitment to low-cost financial services for hardworking people, especially those who need them most.


Why did we choose Rivermark instead of one of the other credit unions to merge with?
While all credit unions have a lot in common, a merger between Rivermark and Advantis will maximize the benefits for all of our collective members. Rivermark and Advantis have very similar missions, visions, and values and look forward to building synergy together to better serve our current and future members.


I care about your employees. Would a merger affect their jobs?
Our employees can feel secure in their jobs, as they play the most vital role in how we serve our members and uphold our shared mission. When this merger moves forward, we’ll need all hands on deck to make it happen. We will not reduce overall staffing levels or conduct layoffs because of this merger. In fact, a larger organization is likely to provide greater future growth opportunities for employees.

Who will lead the merged organization? Does this have leadership support from both credit unions?

Jason Werts, current President & CEO of Advantis, will be the President & CEO of the combined organization. Seth Schaefer, current President & CEO of Rivermark, will serve as Executive Vice President and Chief Impact Officer. Seth’s role and his division will be dedicated to delivering sustainable impact to our members and the community, with oversight over financial wellness, advocacy and strategy, community impact, communications, and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and initiatives. This merger has the full support of both Jason and Seth, as well as the executive and leadership teams of both organizations.


Has a name been chosen for the combined credit union?
Yes, the name of the combined credit union will be Rivermark Community Credit Union.

  • Why not a new name? Both credit unions have strong and respected brands in our local market, and because of this valuable brand equity, it was much wiser to choose a known and respected name versus an entirely new name with no brand awareness. This will give us an advantage in terms of growth potential and the results we can achieve in a local market that’s very crowded with 65 total credit unions and banks in the Portland metro area.

  • Why did we choose the Rivermark name? While both names had strong brand awareness based on a recent market study of local consumers, Rivermark had higher brand awareness, especially in Washington and Clackamas counties. This gives us a real jump start, with more of our community being aware of our combined name. In addition, the name Rivermark is more unique (with very few organizations having this name nationwide), has Federal trademarks that provide greater brand protection, and it evokes a “local feel” among consumers and members with its reference to the rivers characteristic of our area.

    This does not mean Advantis is being acquired by Rivermark, but simply that we’ve chosen one of the existing two names as we come together in a merger of equals. While we are assuming the Rivermark name, Advantis and Rivermark are combining our assets, resources, staff, policies, and programs as equal partners, and in largely equal measure.







 









 









 

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