Business Journal Profile

CEO-Russ Hunt

Tampa Bay Business Journal  interviews Russ Hunt and Dennis Holthaus for Executive Files: Excerpt

Once outlandish, credit union acquisitions of banks gain traction and Skyway Capital owns the space

TBBJ: When I first heard of a credit union buying a bank, it seemed quite rare, if not, hard to fathom. 

Dennis: It’s becoming more common. There has probably been two dozen transactions or so over the last five years. Achieva was the first credit union to actually buy a bank and merge with a bank. The prior transactions have been structured as a merger of assets and an assumption of liabilities, but under state law, a credit union can actually buy the stock of a bank and merge with the bank. Federally chartered credit unions cannot do that, so it’s unique to state chartered credit unions and not all states can do that. Of course Achieva did the second transaction and Russ was our advisor on the first one — Achieva buying Calusa Bank.

TBBJ: Is that where you met? 

Russ: We’ve actually known each other 20 years. Dennis has been a client. We started having talks about what Dennis was going to do after he retired, and his skill set was perfect for transitioning because he’s really been an in-house investment banker. The whole credit union buying a bank thing — we’ve been telling this story a lot lately — when Jeff [Russ’ brother, now senior vice president at First Home Bank] and I were working together in 2012 and started the discussion about a credit union buying a bank and Jeff switched careers shortly after and I said, you’ve got to be crazy, a credit union buying a bank? Now we’ve worked on four or five announced and completed transactions and probably another four or five that haven’t been announced.

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