Kinecta Federal Credit Union of Manhattan Beach filed an application with regulators last week for a proposed megamerger with Huntington Beach’s NuVision Federal Credit Union.

The combined institution would rank as the 14th largest credit union in the United States. And as might be expected of such a deal, its genesis goes back some time.

Early last year, Steve Lumm was serving as interim chief executive of Kinecta, which is already the largest credit union in Los Angeles County with $3.5 billion in assets. Helping with the search for a permanent replacement, Lumm began talking with Roger Ballard, who had taken over the top spot at NuVision in 2004, about moving to Kinecta.

After some negotiations, the two began to notice synergies between the institutions and both boards were open to the idea of a merger. “It really worked out in terms of timing and fit,” Ballard said.

The two institutions share a similar member base. Kinecta was founded in 1940 to serve employees of Hughes Aircraft, while NuVision got its start in 1935 as a credit union for Douglas Aircraft workers.

Ballard began serving as CEO of both credit unions last June when the merger was agreed to by the boards and will continue in that role for the combined credit union, which will retain the Kinecta name.

The transaction, which is expected to be approved, would give Kinecta roughly $4.7 billion in assets, 51 branches and 300,000 members. Ballard said it would be the second largest credit union merger in U.S. history.

“We think economies of scale do matter,” he said. “That’s going to give us an opportunity with that combined deposits and capital base to do more for our members.”

He said the credit union will likely expand its Internet presence and small-business lending, and possibly introduce new products. The merger is expected to close early next year.

Bank Buy

A week after announcing plans to open six new branches, Opus Bank in Redondo Beach has accelerated its growth plans with the acquisition of a community bank.

The fast-growing institution agreed to pay $50 million to acquire Fullerton’s RMG Capital Corp. and its subsidiary, Fullerton Community Bank. The transaction, which has been approved by each company’s board but still requires an OK from regulators, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The combined institution will have 13 branches, excluding the additional planned Opus offices.

Additionally, Opus recently received shareholder approval for a merger with Everett, Wash.-based Cascade Bank. After the close of both acquisitions, Opus will have pro-forma assets of nearly $3 billion and 42 branches along the West Coast.

Fund Launch

Del Rey Global Investors LLC, an asset management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, launched its first open-end mutual fund this month.

With its del Rey Monarch Fund, the firm founded in September 2009 is opening its investment strategy to all investors. Previously, it invested only its institutional clients’ money.

The fund requires a minimum $2,000 investment and will focus on undervalued non-U.S. securities. It will be managed by del Rey founder Paul Hechmer.

Musical Range

The “bank to the stars” is now looking to become the bank to biggest names in country music.

City National Bank, the downtown L.A. institution that has catered to Hollywood for generations, said last week that it has opened its first office in Nashville, Tenn., “principally to better serve the music industry.”

The branch, which has 12 employees, is headed by entertainment banking executive Holly Bell.

The move also represents an expansion into a fourth state for the bank, a subsidiary of City National Corp. It already has a footprint in New York and Nevada.

C-Suite News

Kaiser Federal Financial Group Inc., the Covina holding company for Kaiser Federal Bank, announced that its board unanimously approved the appointment of Dustin Luton to the post of chief executive. He will replace current CEO Kay Hoveland following her previously-announced resignation July 1. Additionally, Jean Carandang will replace Luton as chief financial officer. … Century City investment bank Imperial Capital LLC announced that David Barnes has been hired as a managing director and head of the firm’s financial sponsors coverage group. … WTAS LLC, a tax advisory firm with offices in downtown Los Angeles, has hired Morgan Holmes and Bill Amon as managing directors in the local commercial tax practice. … Analytic Investors Inc., an investment management firm in downtown Los Angeles, announced the appointment of Adam Craig as director of consultant relations and business development.

Staff reporter Richard Clough can be reached at or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 251.

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