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Sperry credit union members OK merger with PenFed

Sperry's lone office in Garden City Park will

Sperry's lone office in Garden City Park will close when the deal is finalized, though the automated teller machine will remain in service for at least 12 months. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Sperry Associates Federal Credit Union members have voted overwhelmingly to approve a merger with Pentagon Federal Credit Union despite voicing some misgivings about the plan.

More than 63% of Sperry's members, who will each receive a $350 special dividend when the deal closes, voted in favor of the merger, according to results announced Wednesday and verified by the Long Island credit union's outside counsel.

The special meeting was held in the parking lot of Sperry's lone office in Garden City Park, which will close when the deal is finalized, though the automated teller machine will remain in service for at least 12 months.

"As last night’s vote to approve the merger between Sperry and PenFed shows us, credit union members value having a well-leveraged partner that will offer them enhanced financial products and services," Sperry chief executive and vice chairman Kevin J. Healy said in an emailed statement. "We look forward to this exciting next chapter in our institution’s history, and appreciate all of our members who expressed their vote."

Credit unions are not-for-profit institutions that are owned by their depositors and offer traditional banking services like auto and mortgage loans. Eighty-four-year-old Sperry, with 38 employees and more than 16,000 members, was founded for employees of Sperry Gyroscope in New Hyde Park.

Membership is available to those who live, work, worship, attend school, volunteer, or conduct business in Nassau County.

The merger is expected to close in November pending approval from the National Credit Union Administration, which oversees federally chartered credit unions.

Officials of PenFed, with assets of $25.9 billion, did not respond to a request for comment. PenFed is based in McLean, Virginia, and has 49 branches nationwide, including one in Manhattan and two in West Point, the home of the U.S. Military Academy.

Despite the widespread support for the merger, members at the meeting questioned Sperry officials about how they can access PenFed's services once the office — which has been closed by the COVID-19 pandemic — is permanently shuttered.

Sperry executives have pointed to PenFed's "robust" online, mobile and telephone banking options and the difficulties faced by financial institutions like Sperry as they struggle to compete against larger competitors.

Healy, with an annual salary of $335,956, will receive a five-year employment guarantee and an optional severance payment at a rate of 36 months' salary if he leaves PenFed within 24 months of the merger.

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