For continued growth and expansion of products and services, Launch Board of Directors and Management are embarking on converting from a federal charter to a state charter. This will better allow the credit union to grow and serve more members in a broader community than the two counties we currently have available in our federal charter.
Below are frequently asked questions that we’d like to share with you about this important conversion.
1. Will there be any changes to my accounts, direct deposits, or to the services I use?
This should be a seamless transition to our members. Account numbers and passwords will not change, and our existing branches, Contact Center, and business hours will remain the same. It will be business as usual for members.
2. Will new debit and credit cards be issued with the new credit union name? What about checks?
You will continue to use your current debit and credit cards. As cards expire, new cards will be issued with the new name. Members will also continue to use their existing Launch checks until they need a reorder.
3. Will the website address, phone numbers, mailing address or email addresses change?
The only change will be with the website URL redirecting to launchcu.com on August 1, and email addresses changing from launchfcu.com to launchcu.com.
4. Will my Launch accounts still be federally insured?
Yes. All Launch deposit accounts will continue to be federally insured by our current federal government agency, the National Credit Union Administration’s Share Insurance Fund.
5. Will the credit union’s name change?
Yes. The word “Federal” will be removed from the name and we will be known as Launch Credit Union. This is the most significant change and will require a transition of our name and logo over a 120-day timeframe.
6. What are the advantages of converting from a federally chartered to a state chartered credit union?
By converting to a state charter, it will allow Launch to diversify our field of membership by allowing new members to join from additional counties in Florida. These are counties that would not be permissible under current NCUA policies with a federal charter.
Growth from this conversion will enhance our ability to keep our dividend and loan rates competitive in the marketplace and allow continued investment in new products and services, including enhanced electronic services.
7. What is the difference between a state and federal chartered credit union?
A federal charter means the credit union is regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). A state charter means the credit union is regulated by the Florida Office of Financial Regulations which regulates all Florida state-chartered credit unions and other financial institutions for compliance with the laws and regulations of the state of Florida, as well as appropriate rules and regulations of federal agencies.
8. Why is a state charter better for Launch than a federal charter?
A simple answer to how a state charter differs from a federal charter is that expansion is not possible with the current federal charter. With a state of Florida charter, Launch can add additional counties to our proposed field of membership.
9. Does the Board of Directors need to approve the charter change?
Yes. The Launch Board of Directors unanimously approved the charter change proposal.
10. Do members need to approve the charter change?
A Notice and a ballot were sent to all eligible members prior to our special members’ meeting on July 15, 2020, at 5:30 pm, located at 415 Fortenberry Rd, Merritt Island, FL. The results of the votes received by the deadline via mail, in-branch and in-person are as follows:
- 1,535 members approved
- 635 members opposed
A majority of votes was required for the charter change to pass, therefore, by member vote, the charter change is approved.
11. Will there be any changes to the Board of Directors or management team?
No. The Launch Board of Directors and management team will continue to fill their respective duties in serving members.
12. What about member service and the Launch team?
Launch will continue to offer the same great products and services from the same branch locations and through our Contact Center with the same great teams.
13. What are the financial impacts of the charter change?
Management is confident that the income and growth opportunities associated with this proposed change outweigh any additional costs.
14. Will there be any change in Launch rates and fees?
Deposit and loan rates and the current fee structure will not be impacted by the charter change.
15. Under a state charter, can you still be a member if you move outside of the eligible service areas?
Yes, you can still be a member if you relocate outside of Launch field of membership. Once a member, always a member. We have and continue to invest heavily in our digital banking channels to serve members wherever they live. Our investment in infrastructure and our need to continue investing is an important reason we are seeking to expand our field of membership.
16. Is this anything like a conversion to a bank, or will it lead to a buyout or merger?
No. Launch has always been and will continue to be a credit union and provide its members with all the advantages that being a credit union entail. Launch remains committed to the cooperative principles upon which we were founded in 1963. We are extremely well-positioned and strong financially, with no intention to merge or convert to a bank.
17. Will my voting rights as a member change with the new charter?
No. Each member's voting rights will remain the same.