Merger Announcement

Great Lakes Credit Union (GLCU) and encurage financial network credit union (encurage) are excited to announce their upcoming merge. The combined organization will operate under the unified brand name, Great Lakes Credit Union. The credit unions are targeting a close later this year as a legal effective date for the merger. Both boards have voted in favor of the combined merger.

Furthering Our Commitment to You

By joining forces, GLCU and encurage aren’t just merging assets, they’re strengthening their unwavering commitment to you, our valued members. This partnership harnesses the best of both worlds, ensuring you’ll enjoy more convenient access, a wider range of products and services, and technology that keeps pace with your evolving needs. Our expanded branch network brings personalized service closer to you, while unlocking additional benefits, returning more value to your pockets. Together, we’re poised to navigate the changing financial landscape with agility, constantly refining our offerings to cater to your every goal. Rest assured, the familiar faces and genuine care you’ve come to expect remain unchanged. This is about amplifying our resources and commitment, not altering the cornerstones of our connection with you. To learn more about GLCU visit their website at https://www.glcu.org/


Founded in 1938 and headquartered in Northern Illinois, Great Lakes Credit Union is banking for a greater good. As a not-for-profit financial cooperative with over $1.3 billion in assets, GLCU is proud to serve 80,000 members in Chicagoland and surrounding areas, and to give back to its members and communities through education, volunteerism, and partnerships.

Both credit unions wanted to find a partner that matches their own passion, dedication and loyalty to their teams, members and communities. They wanted a partner whose policy guidelines and overall philosophy align closely with their own mission.

GLCU and encurage are merger partners because we are both committed to member focus, leadership, community involvement and a vision for the future.

The goal of both organizations in this merger is to build a combined entity that leverages best practices if/when possible and achieves greater economies of scale to ensure we can continue to offer the best services, products, and technologies to our combined members.

Absolutely. The boards of both credit unions approved the proposed merger unanimously and are very excited about this merger with the growth and benefits it brings to our members, employees, and communities.

A merger between our two organizations provides the opportunity to implement best practices to achieve more positive member, employee, and community impact and value. As a result of this partnership, we would grow our branch network across the Chicago area, giving us the ability to be more responsive to members and their financial needs.

The merger would also allow the expansion of GLCU’s housing counsellor service to a broader membership base.

Upon completion of the merger, encurage financial network will bring over more than 14,000 members, mostly in the greater Chicagoland area, and over $200 million in assets to the new organization to combine with GLCU’s 80,000 members and $1.3 billion in assets.

With an expanded physical presence and our combined strengths in products, services, and technology offerings, we would be able to better serve our members and our communities in a highly competitive financial services sector that continues to evolve rapidly.

Becoming a larger credit union would provide opportunities to leverage resources and position us for continued growth. In turn, this would result in being able to provide even more benefits to members in the form of more product and service access and new and robust technologies and services while ensuring that encurage’s partner credit unions continue their unique identity which is tied back to their originating sponsors. In doing so, we are committed to keeping their voices heard under the advisory councils to ensure we remain close to all of our members and communities.

This partnership will provide employees with more career development opportunities and specializations, all while maintaining a positive culture that encourages teamwork and focuses on providing members with top-notch financial products and services.

The merger will also help to establish best practices, best systems, and best processes that help ensure employees have more resources available to do their jobs.

Both credit unions recognize the importance of retaining talented and dedicated team members and that a successful merger is dependent on retaining that talent and leadership. Employees of encurage will become part of the GLCU team.

  • More Member Access

A larger branch footprint would allow us to have more impact on existing members. But more than that, through this partnership, we would be able to pool more resources allowing us to serve more members and have a deeper impact in the communities we serve.


  • Products/Services

As a larger organization, we would achieve greater economies of scale, which would allow us to offer an even more robust product and service line, reduce costs, and ultimately return more value to members. Both credit unions will collaborate to identify the products and services that best support the overall financial goals of our members and may look to adopt them where appropriate in the future.   


  • More Responsive to Evolving Financial Needs

In a highly competitive financial services industry, combining our strengths would allow us to continue to enhance our product, service, and digital banking offerings.


  • Enhance Electronic Banking Products

This partnership would allow us to constantly assess and improve our technology solutions and make sure we are providing “the best” digital banking solutions we can for members now and into the future.


  • More Branch Locations

Together, we would have 19 branches (14 GLCU and 5 encurage) to serve members.


  • Same Knowledgeable, Friendly Employees

The same friendly staff at our branches would continue to be available to serve members

The rates on fixed-rate loans and certificates would remain the same until the end of their existing terms. Other products would adjust as normal due to market conditions.

For now, everything will stay the same. Prior to any required changes, encurage will notify their membership.

There are no plans for any branch closures. In fact, this merger would provide the opportunity to expand  branch locations and enhance the digital member experience. GLCU branches will not be available to encurage members immediately and encurage locations are not available to GLCU members at this time. As the merger progresses, we will announce when these locations will be available for members.

No. Today, both credit unions serve the Greater Chicago Area. This would remain the same for the combined organization.  All encurage members would automatically become members of the combined credit union. Once a member, always a member.

If approved, the combined organization’s community branch locations will operate under the unified Great Lakes Credit Union brand.

Encurage’s Select Employer Group (SEG) based locations will operate under their current identity, doing business as (d/b/a) Great Lakes Credit Union. This co-branded approach will allow us to support and maintain the legacy associated with affinity memberships, while signaling to members and the market the strength of the growing Great Lakes Credit Union brand.

To complete the merger process, we must receive approval from three sources: our boards, our regulators, and encurage members. The boards of both credit unions unanimously approved and signed a merger agreement. As member-owned cooperatives, and under the guidelines of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), full merger approval is contingent upon encurage membership approval along with regulatory approvals from the NCUA and Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. As the merger process moves forward, both credit unions will provide information to their respective memberships via their websites (www.glcu.org and www.firstfcu.org/encurage) and through other applicable communication channels.

It is anticipated that all approvals will be complete later this year.

We are here to answer your questions! Please do not hesitate to contact us.