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Crawfordsville banks merge, enhance years of pride and service

By Jennifer Loesch

The Journal Review

What do you get when you add two like-minded institutions run by local people with a grasp on the community’s needs?

The answer: The premier community bank.

The merger of Union Federal Savings & Loan and Montgomery Savings, which was final Jan. 2, connected the only two local banks in Crawfordsville.

“We were really a mirror of each other,” said Alan Grimble, vice-president of Union Federal Savings & Loan Association.

According to Grimble, Union Federal purchased Montgomery Savings not only because both banks were in the market to acquire new assets, but the merger also allowed an expansion of services.

“It’s going to expand our products and services,” Grimble said.

However, both banks are still on separate computer servers and will remain so until May 1.

Montgomery Savings customers can use their checks until they run out, Grimble said.

After May 1, customers will be able to access seven locations.

There will be four locations at Crawfordsville and locations at Williamsport, Covington and Lafayette.

The Covington and Lafayette branches will be the only branches to retain the name Montgomery Savings, however they are still a division of Union Federal Bancorp, Grimble said.

The reason for this is simple: Those people don’t know Union Federal, yet.

Union Federal Bancorp is the holding institution for Union Federal Savings & Loan.

The Mill Street location will serve as the central loan processing center.

By merging, Grimble said, Union Federal will benefit by saving, $850,000 in cost and this will in turn benefit the shareholders.

“(The year) 2002 will be a transition year,” he said.

Customers will feel the positive effects beginning in 2003.

Union Federal’s east Main Street branch will be the bank’s headquarters and will also be remodeled.

Grimble said remodeling plans haven’t been finalized, but he did say that the drive-thru will be expanded at the Main Street location.

Aside from a new drive-thru Union Federal would like to add on-line banking to its list of services.

Both Montgomery Savings and Union Federal Savings & Loan have non-transactional Web sites.

Grimble said Union Federal would also like to provide direct auto lending, overdraft protection and consumer lending.

“It’s our vision to become a full service bank,” he said.

As for Montgomery Savings employees, some have been let go, Grimble said. With mergers there is always the problem of job duplication.

“That is a sad part,” Grimble said.

However, three Montgomery Savings directors, C. Rex Henthorn, Joseph M. Malott and Mark E. Foster, will be added to the seven-member Union board of directors.

J. Lee Walden, president and chief executive officer of Montgomery Savings, will become chief financial officer of Union Federal Savings & Loan.

Even though the merger will bring about change, Grimble holds fast to the belief that Union Federal will remain “a community minded institution.”

Grimble who was born and raised at Waynetown said most employees are also locals.

“You know people when you see them in the street,” Grimble said.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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