Wings Financial Credit Union expanding into Wisconsin with bank buy

Apple Valley, Minn.-based Wings Financial Credit Union is expanding into Wisconsin with the acquisition of the Madison-area Settlers bank. 

Wings Financial will acquire the bank’s three branches, in Appleton, Madison and Windsor. Settlers bank locations will be rebranded as Settlers Best Credit Union, a division of the $8 billion, 340,000-member Wings Financial Credit Union. The buy is expected to close in mid-2023. 

The $8 billion, 340,000-member Wings Financial is Minnesota’s largest credit union. “We’re excited about the opportunity to introduce our services to the Wisconsin market,” said Frank Weidner, Wings Financial’s president and CEO. “We’ve been exploring opportunities to expand into Wisconsin and this transaction was a great fit for both Settlers bank and Wings.”

“Settlers bank was started 15 years ago to be accessible and to build relationships through collaboration,” added Tom Spitz, founder and CEO of the $390 million bank. “Wings shares these values and our partnership will allow us to build on our already strong market momentum. We are excited that the approach to the transaction will keep the systems and team of Settlers bank intact to allow us to continue to serve our markets without disruption.” 

Settlers bank was represented legally by Boardman & Clark, LLP, Madison, Wis., and Oak Ridge Financial Services Group, Inc., Minneapolis, served as financial adviser. Raymond James & Associates, St. Petersburg, Fla., served as financial adviser to Wings Financial Credit Union, and Honigman LLP, Chicago, Ill., served as legal adviser.

Rose Oswald Poels, Wisconsin Bankers Association president and CEO, said the buy is another example of “credit unions continuing their aggressive behavior in Wisconsin using taxpayer dollars to purchase profitable, tax-paying banks.” She added that Wisconsin is an especially active market for CU-bank acquisitions because laws in Iowa and Minnesota prevent CUs from buying state-chartered banks.  

“This is yet another profitable, business-focused bank located in an affluent part of the state, being purchased by a credit union taking more tax revenue off the state and federal tax rolls,” she said.