Elements Financial bulks up with credit union merger

Indianapolis-based Elements Financial Federal Credit Union, the state's fourth largest credit union by assets, is assuming control of State Service Credit Union, a move that provides Elements a slight bump in assets and gives it direct access to one of the largest employers in Indiana–the state government.

Elements, formerly known as Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union, announced the merger Wednesday, the first in its 85-year history. The merger allows it to add nearly 30,000 state employees to its list of potential customers.

"It's a great opportunity to work with another premier employer here in the state," said Elements CEO Lisa Schlehuber. "And for its individual employees that decide to become members, we look forward to working with them and providing the same value that we've provided to our other members since 1930."

Elements had $1.12 billion in assets and more than 79,000 members across the globe at the end of September, according to the National Credit Union Administration. State Service had $4.6 million in assets and about 1,200 members at the end of June, according to research firm Callahan & Associates.

The merger is expected to be complete Dec. 5. At that point, State Service's four employees and its sole branch at the Indiana Government Center South will join Elements' 170 employees and six branches. State Service was founded in 1944.

Officials at State Service couldn't be reached for comment Thursday morning.

Elements officials said State Service contacted them and representatives from other credit unions earlier this year to explore merger opportunities. Part of Elements' value proposition dealt with its technology offerings such as mobile banking, Schlehuber said.

The U.S. Government is the largest employer in the state with about 36,800 workers, according to a 2015 survey by IBJ. Next is Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with about 35,700 workers and the State of Indiana with about 28,000.

Elements started exclusively serving employees at Eli Lilly and Co., but in 2008 it began targeting other employers to expand its membership base. Today, it has nearly 70 employer partners, including Amazon.com, Angie's List and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

The firm, previously known as Elfcu, changed its name last year to Elements to reflect its broader membership pool, and embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign that includes paying $80,000 a year for five years for naming rights at the Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

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