AUGUSTA – Two credit unions that serve the employees of about 25 Maine companies have merged into one in hopes of jump-starting growth and improving member services.

The merger between Augusta-based Alliance of Maine Federal Credit Union and Scarborough-based Hannaford Associates Federal Credit Union took effect Oct. 1.

The combined institution, Trademark Federal Credit Union, joins two similarly sized credit unions into one with $69 million in assets and 11,500 members.

Hunter King, Trademark’s president and chief executive officer, said the merger gives existing members more locations to access services and makes an expansion of services more affordable.

“We were very similar philosophically and structurally, so it was just a good fit,” said King, who previously served as president and CEO of Hannaford Associates Federal Credit Union.

The combined credit union is retaining the two institutions’ 25 employees and four branch offices.

Alliance of Maine Federal Credit Union had branches in Augusta, New Gloucester and Portland. Hannaford Associates had a branch in Scarborough and five ATMs.

Alliance of Maine membership has traditionally been open to employees of Central Maine Power Co. and their families; its name was formerly Central Maine Power Credit Union.

Over time, the credit union’s charter opened its field of membership to about 20 other companies, including Darling’s car dealership in Augusta, NextEra Energy Resources, Boulos Property Management and E.S. Coffin Engineering and Surveying.

Hannaford Associates Federal Credit Union was open to all Hannaford employees and employees of a handful of associated companies, including Hannaford parent Delhaize America, Canteen Food Services and Hutchins Trucking.

A credit union differs from a bank because it is nonprofit and its charter generally allows it a limited membership, often in a particular geographical area or company.

King said the Alliance-Hannaford merger combines two institutions that are in solid financial condition.

“Both of them had good earnings, very strong capital,” he said. “There was no financial reason to do it, other than some economies (of scale).”

For example, King said, the combined institution can more easily afford to provide a remote deposit capture service — which allows customers to electronically scan checks and transmit them to financial institutions — than the two individual institutions.

“The expense of some of the newer technologies, it’s a little more easily borne on a larger institution than a smaller one,” he said.

Trademark Federal Credit Union — with its combined assets — is among Maine’s 25 largest credit unions, said Maine Credit Union League President John Murphy.

The two credit unions’ merger comes after several years in which membership has consistently declined while asset size has generally grown.

Hannaford Associates Federal Credit Union had about 7,000 members in June, down from 10,300 in June 2000, according to reports on file with the National Credit Union Administration. During that same period, the credit union’s assets grew to $33.1 million from $21.3 million.

Alliance of Maine had 4,400 members in June, according to the NCUA, down from 6,300 in June 2000. Its asset size grew to $35.1 million in that period, up from $29.4 million.

“That’s been one of our challenges attracting new members,” said Judy Griffin, Alliance of Maine’s president and CEO. “A lot of our sponsor companies are not hiring additional people, and people are retiring and leaving the organization and may or may not continue their relationship with the credit union.”

Griffin, who will continue as Trademark’s chief operating officer, said the merger allows growth potential even within the existing companies served by Trademark.

“I think with their combined resources, with more locations, expanded products, that they’re positioned very well for growth,” said Murphy of the Maine Credit Union League.