by Lisa Cyriacks

Saguache County Credit Union was liquidated Friday, March 23rd, and its assets sold to Aventa Credit Union.  The decision reflects the determination of the Colorado Division of Financial Services that SCCU was insolvent and would not become viable again.

On March 23, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), as the appointed liquidating agent, entered into an agreement with Aventa to purchase and assume the membership shares and assets of SCCU.

“Aventa has worked in partnership with the NCUA in acquiring SCCU so that the people of Saguache, Rio Grande and Alamosa counties could continue to have a credit union option for their personal financial needs,” said Gregory J. Mills. Aventa’s President and CEO. “All of us at Aventa believe passionately in the credit union movement, so the decision to step in and help was an easy one for us.”

For the SCCU membership, this arrangement means that they will receive ongoing services from Aventa Credit Union, and there will be no interruption in services. The accounts of the former SCCU members who are now new members of Aventa Credit Union remain federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund up to $250,000.

All three branches of the credit union, Moffat, Crestone and Center, will remain open with expanded hours of operation, returning to a schedule of Monday through Friday. Kim Weiss has been hired to be the Crestone/Moffat branch manager and Arlene Martinez will be the Center branch manager.  The contact number during this transition is 719-482-7600.

Because of its size, Aventa Credit Union will be able to offer new services and products to the San Luis Valley membership.

State regulators took control of the Saguache County Credit Union last July, stating at the time they didn’t plan to liquidate the credit union because it was an important source of capital in an underbanked part of the state.  Since that time SCCU was operating under a conservatorship and managed by the NCUA.

Chartered in 1996, Saguache County Credit Union primarily served the people living in Saguache County, but also had members who live in Rio Grande or Alamosa Counties.

The acquisition by Aventa reflects a return to a credit union that is managed by a volunteer board of directors elected annually, an audit committee, as well as management and staff.  Aventa is a federally insured, state-chartered credit union with $135 million in assets and 18,100 members.

It has its roots as a Colorado Springs city employee’s credit union chartered in 1957.  The Pueblo City Employees Federal Credit Union merged with Aventa in 2010.  (Aventa is a coined word that plays on similar words like “advantage” and “advance”.)

Currently, credit unions are among the country’s strongest and most stable financial models, thanks to direct accountability to membership and conservative management philosophies. Aventa is proud to be part the US credit union heritage. Aventa’s growth continues to spread the cooperative spirit and support economies of scale that continually enhance our ability to care for our members.

At the time of liquidation, Saguache County Credit Union served 3,185 members and had assets of approximately $17 million.  Combined Aventa will have 21,000+ members and over $150 million in assets and deposits.

Saguache County Credit Union is the third federally insured credit union liquidation in 2012.