Premier America Credit Union customers of the defunct Telesis Community Credit Union already are benefitting from changes at the four branches recently added to the Premier portfolio.
Chatsworth-based Premier this month expanded hours at two Telesis branches to make them full-time and added cash services at all four former Telesis branches, said President and CEO John Merlo. In addition, he said, the rates on loans and deposits at those locations now are in line with what Premier offers.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the National Credit Union Administration says the agency is still trying to work out what will happen to the delinquent assets that plagued Chatsworth-based Telesis and eventually led to its demise.
The financial institution was liquidated June 1 by the California Department of Financial Institutions, which found that the credit union was insolvent and had no prospect for restoring viable operations on its own. Premier America, which had been managing the credit union since April, immediately assumed its 37,600 members and assets valued at $301.3 million. The NCUA seized the troubled, remaining assets.
Premier America had $1.3 billion in assets and nearly 64,000 members before the purchase. It had seven branches in Southern California and two in Texas, before the purchase. Telesis, founded in 1965, had branch locations in Canyon Country, Simi Valley and Westlake Village and employed 175 full-time workers. Its members included employer groups and individuals in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and Ventura County.
Telesis and Premier have overlapping membership demographics that made the takeover a good decision, Merlo said.
“There is a great deal of synergy to have the two combined, and we look forward to creating that type of value,” he said.
Merlo said he was limited by a non-disclosure agreement on what he could say about the acquisition or the circumstances leading to it. He said the California DFI approached Premier and several other credit unions in the spring to gauge interest in taking over Telesis as it became evident that Telesis faced serious financial difficulties following a period of continuous losses due to unpaid commercial real estate loans.
Merlo could not name the other credit unions contacted by the California DFI. John Zimmerman, a spokesman for the NCUA, said he did not know which credit unions had been contacted.
Premier’s due diligence on Telesis was almost complete when the state placed Telesis into conservatorship on March 23, Merlo said.
“We did look at the financials and what our interest would be in those portions of Telesis we thought we could provide value to the members,” he said.
The loans that Premier did not take are managed by the Asset Management & Assistance Center of the NCUA, Zimmerman said. “We took the delinquent stuff and will figure out how we dispose of it,” he said. “When a credit union is liquidated, often we take those assets that are troubled and work them out.”
Telesis is one of six credit unions nationwide that has been liquidated, purchased or assumed this year, according to the agency.
As of March 31, Telesis had $22.5 million in total delinquent loans, with nearly half of that amount — $10.7 million — delinquent by 12 months or more. Zimmerman said he did not have a figure of how much the NCUA has assumed to date.
Telesis invested $8.9 million in seven credit union service organizations, or subsidiaries in which it partnered with other credit unions. The largest investments were $4.5 million in CU Business Partners, an originator, processor and underwriter of small business and commercial real estate loans, and $3 million in CU Vehicles LLC, or Autoland, an auto loan lender. Both businesses are located in Chatsworth.
The NCUA will manage the Telesis investments in the service organization, Zimmerman said.
“Each (service organization) carries real value as ongoing and independent businesses,” Zimmerman said. “NCUA is looking to dispose of our interest to other current owners or other interested parties in an orderly process.”