Strong Today, Stronger Tomorrow
The Board of Directors of Icon Credit Union have announced plans to partner with Horizon Credit Union with the intent to merge. Icon and Horizon want to better serve you and future generations by combining our strengths and resources. Our expanded organization will have combined assets of more than $1.5 billion with 28 branch locations across Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington.
Unlike a bank buyout, a credit union merger is a collaboration between two credit unions seeking to combine financial resources and expertise for the sole purpose of providing members with expanded services. We are excited to provide these additional benefits to you.
In the meantime, we have a number of Frequently Asked Questions below to answer some of the most common questions you may have. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us as you normally do.
What is in it for Members?
A merger with Horizon Credit Union will bring the Icon members many benefits including more robust, state of the art digital services, better member service through extended call center hours and agents, as well as more ATM’s and branches.
Horizon has partnered with NCR, the leader in online and mobile banking, to offer more reliable service as well as cutting edge technology that builds upon our current online platforms. Not only will you benefit from Horizon’s consistent 24/7 availability of online and mobile banking products, but you will also have access to additional services such as: text banking, mobile wallet payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay & Samsung Pay), MX money management (a free budgeting software), Turbo Tax, FI to FI transfers
between your owned accounts at Icon and other institutions and secure chat features.
In addition to the digital advantages the merger with Horizon will bring, Icon members will also experience improved member service with more call center agents available to answer your questions during extended member service hours, as well as access to more branches throughout the Northwest. Not only will you continue to be able to use the current fleet of ATMs at our branches, Horizon’s partnership with the CO-OP network will increase access to ATM’s throughout North America and Canada.
Throughout this merger and beyond, members will continue to enjoy everything they value about Icon and their account features. Most account features will remain the same or be enhanced. You won’t notice any disruptions in benefits such as courtesy pay, automatic transfers, and security features. One example of an account benefit will be monthly dividend payouts instead of quarterly payouts. You may
also see reductions in some fees.
To find out more about all the great account and digital services Horizon has to offer, visit www.hzcu.org
or give us a call at 800-877-3174. We look forward to hearing from you.
How will the merger affect my access to ATMs?
Members will continue to be able to access all branch ATM’s as well as other ATM’s that are currently available in the CO-OP network. Horizon’s partnership with the CO-OP ATM network will give you access to even more free ATM’s throughout our area as well as North America and Canada. Horizon has also expanded their ATM fleet to include ITM’s. ITM’s allow for extended service hours as well as personalized sevice using video capability through the drive-up lanes. Horizon is committed to building on these current technologies to expand member access and opportunities throughout Southern Idaho and North East Oregon.
Why merge now?
As the fiercely competitive financial services landscape continues to evolve, Icon is not large enough to accelerate growth and maintain market share at the pace needed to compete in this market without a strong partner.
This merger between two independently strong, successful credit unions will bring greater value to its combined members, employees and communities. This collaborative partnership will accelerate our ability to expand member offerings, such as increased access to more products and services, provide more locations and expand our geographical footprint in the Northwest, and enhance digital and mobile technologies that will provide greater convenience when and where our members need us.
By expanding market area and strengthening our internal infrastructure, the new organization will be better positioned to weather any future economic crises.
What are the benefits of a larger credit union?
Becoming a larger credit union with combined assets of $1.5 billion will provide opportunities to increase efficiencies and return those savings right back to members in new innovation, technology and services, better rates, and higher investments in community giving. The larger credit union will also provide greater opportunities for employees and additional jobs for our local communities.
With additional scale and the talent at both credit unions, the combined organization can establish a competitive edge enabling us to offer best-of-breed products and services to an ever-growing membership base in our regions.
Who is Horizon? Why did we choose them?
Horizon was founded in 1947 to support the financial needs of aluminum workers in eastern Washington and have maintained a strong commitment to placing members’ needs first for 72 years. They have remained proactive in their awareness and response to changes in the financial world, to continually offer competitive rates, friendly service and the latest technologies. They are based out of Spokane, WA and currently have branches in Washington, Montana and northern Idaho.
It was most important to partner with a credit union that aligned with our culture and values and shared a high level of commitment to members. Horizon has been an Icon partner since 2013 when Horizon acquired more than 1,300 of Icon’s Coeur d’ Alene members along with their loans, deposits and a parcel of land to better assist the members in this region. Over the years, they have truly been a valued collaborator. During the extensive search and due diligence periods, the Icon Board identified that Horizon Credit Union fulfilled the important criteria of a merger partner.
Why a non-Idaho credit union?
Horizon recognizes the value of our market, understands our strengths and shares similar culture, values, financial strengths and a strong commitment to members. These were critical criteria for our Board of Directors, as well as staying relevant in technology while staying personal in service. Additionally, Horizon Credit Union has been serving Idaho since 1990 and has four branches in the panhandle of Idaho. Our Coeur d’Alene members and operations became a part of Horizon a few years ago, so this will create a regional presence for our North and South Idaho members.
When will this happen?
While nothing is changing right now, both organizations will begin the integration process once merger regulatory and membership approvals are obtained. This will likely be completed in the second quarter of 2020. Members will receive a detailed transition packet outlining this process. Both organizations will continue to serve members as usual at their combined 28 branch locations during this transition.
Are we getting too “bank-like” and impersonal?
Icon has always been invested in building personal relationships with our members, which is how Icon has been able to provide unique solutions to individual member needs. Horizon Credit Union shares this high-level commitment to personalized service, which is why they are ranked on Forbes 2019 Best Credit Unions in Washington.
Are we going to lose local control?
Two of Icon’s Board of Director members will transition to the Board of the new organization to ensure that local needs are represented and met. We will also have local underwriting decision authority and local leadership in the region to support member needs.
What can you tell us about other Horizon acquisitions?
Icon has previously worked with Horizon when they acquired our branches in Northern Idaho in 2013. Based on that experience, combined with feedback from our now former members who made this transition, and other conversations we have had with entities that Horizon has acquired, these transitions have been positive for members and employees.
Which organization approached the other to pursue this transaction?
Our Board of Directors and leadership participate in regular strategic assessments to take an honest look at the competitive landscape and our position in the market. While Icon Credit Union is the strongest it has ever been, we also are not large enough to accelerate growth and maintain market share at the pace needed without a strong partner. We began considering many options to address this challenge, starting with the Board proactively completing a gap analysis. That research led to the selection of Horizon as the best partner, by giving us the ability to remain competitive and meet the needs of our members.
Who will lead the newly combined organization?
Connie Miller, Icon Credit Union President and CEO, will continue to lead the current market in the new organization as Regional President. Jeff Adams, Horizon Credit Union President and CEO, will be the President and CEO of the combined organization. Two members of Icon’s current Board of Directors will transition to the new Board after the merger. Other Icon leaders will continue to serve throughout the new organization.
What will happen to our Board?
Two members of the current Icon Board of Directors (Pat Marler & Darin Burrell) will transition to the new combined organization’s Board of Directors until the end of their terms. The new Board of Directors, comprised of nine total members, will continue to represent the interests and needs of the members of the merged organization, including the current Icon members. Mike Teller will be added as an Icon Advisory Board member to help Horizon fulfill the objectives set forth in the merger agreement.
Will Icon’s name change?
Leadership from both organizations has determined the best plan of action, and the one that will cause the least amount of confusion to the members, is to change the name to Horizon Credit Union at the time of the legal merger.
Is Icon financially viable?
Icon remains financially strong and both Icon and Horizon were recognized among the “2019 Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions in America.” However, we can’t ignore the rising competition surrounding us and the need to invest in technology and other resources to stay competitive. A partnership with Horizon gives us the ability to move forward more quickly, and they are committed to investing into initiatives that will benefit our members and employees.
Why can’t Icon add new technology and products without merging? Why is the merger the best option to increase technology and product offerings?
Our members will benefit greatly from Horizon’s member-facing technology and internal systems. After assessing Icon’s needs, we found that by partnering with Horizon, we will be able to invest more quickly and effectively to remain competitive today. Technology, more than ever, is critical and advancing quickly.
We not only want to be around for our members today and for future generations, we want to ensure we are providing the technology desired by our members when and where they want to be served. We don’t have that today. That requires continued investment into our technology and infrastructure to stay competitive with what other financial organizations are offering. Going through a platform conversion to upgrade all of our systems is very costly and complex, as well as other technology upgrades that are needed. Our partnership with Horizon allows us to receive the enhancements much sooner than we could provide for our members on our own.
Has Icon looked at Horizon’s online ratings?
We have vetted Horizon as a partner extensively, from its assets and long-term financial performance to its culture and member satisfaction. While ratings certainly capture one aspect of measurement, we view their Forbes ranking as one of the top credit unions in Washington for service as a more meaningful representation. In addition, please note there are a few different credit unions with the Horizon name in the country, so some poor ratings are reflected in a different Horizon Credit Union than our intended partner.
Will the culture change?
When two organizations merge, there will always be changes. However, we selected Horizon in large part because of our shared values, particularly with member service and employee engagement. Additionally, all of our branch employees will have a role during and after the transition to keep our relationships and culture intact. Icon has also had a long-trusted relationship with Horizon and has utmost respect for what they stand for and their people.
Will I see the same people when I go into my branch?
Yes. Our employees are key to our relationships with you. We do not anticipate any changes in staff at this time, so you should see the same faces and receive the same level of service that you are familiar with today when you visit any of the branch locations.
What will happen to the current Icon branch locations after the merger?
All branch locations will remain open, including the Icon administration building. Additionally, new locations are planned to open over the next several years.
Will training be better for all employees across all departments?
Yes. Horizon has a much more robust training platform than Icon. Training will always be an area in which we invest time and resources, and these efforts will expand with Horizon.
What is the turnover rate for Icon vs Horizon employees? What is the turnover expected with the merger?
Horizon has a significantly less turnover rate than Icon has today. Even though Icon has received the prestigious Best Places to Work designation, Icon still loses employees because the opportunities for career growth are less, primarily because we are smaller in size and don’t have opportunities for employees to grow and move into more advanced positions. Horizon has a proven culture that grows and retains employees. Some of our existing employees are already on pace to take a larger role at Horizon after the merger.
Regarding turnover that may result directly from the merger, we are fully committed to provide all employees a fulfilling role in the combined organization, along with a commitment to avoid layoffs and any reduction in pay. We do expect to have a few employees choose to leave as a result of the merger, simply because change is hard for some. However, we are investing greatly to provide all employees with a position they can be excited about, and one with great potential to grow. Our team is one of our greatest assets, and we are committed to providing a great future employment experience for all of them.
Will there be any changes in our commitment to our original employer groups?
Icon remains fully committed to our original employer groups as they are a key part of who Icon is today and who we have been. Joining with a larger credit union with expanded resources will only provide greater benefits to our employer partners. We will continue to provide special and unique services, the same as we do today. Horizon Credit Union has always been equally committed to their employer groups. We will always be grateful to our seven original Department of Highway members and their legacy, especially as we transition to this new combined organization.
Will Horizon Credit Union continue to support local community organizations?
Horizon Credit Union is fully committed to supporting charitable, community and civic organizations in their local markets. The combined leadership of the new organization is committed to continuing to invest in our communities through sponsorships, volunteerism and other leadership support.
Will my account change?
Your account number will change during the transition. Please know we will personally help members through this transition and be there for you to change what is needed. We recognize that many of our members have had their account number for many years and it is very special to you. We worked hard and studied this intently to find a way for you to keep the same historical account numbers, but there is just no way to accomplish this. There will be a Transition Guide and letters going out to the members explaining step by step answers for what to expect. Until then, you can continue to use your existing Icon account as you do today.
What will change when my account moves over to a new system?
Icon members will receive a detailed Transition Guide in mid-2020 which will outline the upcoming changes to account numbers, routing numbers, debit and credit cards, checks and the technology and services available to them. Members will receive multiple communications as this conversion deadline approaches, so please pay attention to this important information as you receive it. Members will also have the entire credit union team available to help with the transition. The credit union will work to ensure a seamless integration, so that members can conduct normal business with as little interruption as possible. The partnership also brings access to an expanded ATM network – more information will be provided in the Transition Guide.
What will happen to my loans, shares & deposits?
All accounts will transfer to Horizon Credit Union on the day of merger (yet to be finalized). The rates on fixed-rate loans and certificate of deposits (CDs) will remain the same until the end of existing terms. Please continue to follow the same process for submitting loan payments until you receive additional communications. CD renewals or new loans will be subject to current rates which are determined by several factors including the interest rate environment at the time of the new loan or investment. As always, we remain committed to providing competitive rates on loans and deposits. Continue to use current debit cards, credit cards and checks until notified otherwise. Refer to the Transition Guide that will be coming out in early 2020.
Do I still have to pay my loans with Icon?
Please continue to submit your current loan payments as you normally do until you receive communications that this process is changing.
Will my deposits be insured by the NCUA?
As part of the Horizon Credit Union family, member accounts will continue to be insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).
Are fees going to increase?
Overall, fees are not meant to be assessed to our members, but we realize in some cases things happen. We have teams that are assessing our two fee schedules. Some fees may go up and others may come down, but there should be a minimal change, as both organizations have a similar minimal fee philosophy. This analysis is not completed yet and more information will be provided in the Transition Guide.
What is the primary membership and share requirement for Horizon?
Horizon and Icon Credit Union differ slightly in their member share requirements. Because of this difference, on November 1st, your current $25 primary share savings minimum requirement at Icon will be released and made available to you for use in your share account. There will be no membership fees assessed to any current Icon membership upon conversion to Horizon. All new memberships opened after the conversion date will be assessed a $20 membership fee.
What will happen to my checking account and fees?
Upon conversion on November 1st, your checking account will be transferred to a similar product or the same product at Horizon Credit Union. The product conversion details will be made available to you in the upcoming Transition Guide. This guide will be sent mid-September to all Icon members and will include additional information such as online service access and fees. In the meantime, you are welcome to visit Horizon’s website at www.hzcu.org to find out more about their checking accounts and any fees associated. Horizon is proud to offer a wide range of checking accounts that include options such as higher dividends and those with no or low fees.
Will we see better terms on vehicle loans?
By combining our resources with Horizon, our goal is to be as competitive as possible with all of our member offerings.
Will Horizon match loan rates with competitors?
Horizon has a philosophy to do as much as they can to offer competitive rates for our members.
Will you be able to get pre-approved for loans?
Yes, you can still get pre-approved for loans at any time.
Will traditional drive-throughs with face-to-face service return?
Both Icon and Horizon have a variety of drive-up windows and remote tubes to meet your needs. Each location is regularly assessed to determine the most efficient manner to complete your transaction using the drive-up service, in order to minimize the time to complete your transaction from your car.
Where can I go for more information or if I have questions?
Members will be invited to future meetings to receive updates and answer questions. Staff members are available at any time to answer questions as well. The full credit union team is here to support members through the transition. All members will also receive a Transition Guide with additional answers and resources for questions.