With credit unions buying more small banks, tensions are rising in the financial industry.
Kevin Johnson runs Florida’s largest credit union, and he acknowledges that it wasn’t until recently that he could imagine his nonprofit buying a bank with $750 million in assets.
How times have changed in the financial industry.
In just the latest acquisition of a Florida bank by a credit union, Tampa-based Suncoast Credit Union on Tuesday announced it was buying Apollo Bank of Miami. It’s the largest of the 12 Florida banks snapped up by credit unions since 2015.
Even a few years ago, such a deal would have been unthinkable. Banks and credit unions are both financial institutions that take deposits, make loans and issue checkbooks, but they’ve never exactly been pals.
Credit unions long have taken pains to position themselves as the consumer-friendly alternative to money-grubbing banks, while banks for decades have chafed at credit unions’ tax exemption and incursions onto bankers’ turf.
Now, with credit unions in full acquisition mode, tensions are rising.
VyStar Credit Union of Jacksonville, the state’s second-largest financial co-op, this year bought Citizens State Bank of Perry in northern Florida. IBM Southeast Employees Credit Union, a $1 billion institution headquartered in Delray Beach, snapped up Mackinac Savings Bank of Boynton Beach in 2017 and Oculina Bank of Vero Beach in 2018.
The buying binge has been good news for shareholders of small banks, who…