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An exciting announcement for our future

President Ahles: Catholic United Financial Announces Intent to Merge with Trusted Fraternal Life

Frequently asked questions

How would this change benefit me as a member?
This change is entirely positive for members. Catholic United Financial members can rest assured we are committed to meeting your needs and expectations now and into the future. You will have access to expanded products, services and advanced technology.

All that you value about Catholic United Financial will remain the same. Active members will continue to belong to the same Councils or Parish Volunteer Teams and continue to support the same local outreach activities. Members will continue to enjoy the same benefits of membership, including receiving regular communications like Our Catholic Journey magazine. None of this changes — it all continues in the name of Catholic United Financial.

What do you mean by “family of fraternal brands”?
Organizations that join Trusted Fraternal Life will keep their brand identity, mission, vision and values. At the same time, they will achieve greater economies of scale, pursue growth opportunities in different markets and make an even greater community impact. It’s similar to how the Coca-Cola Company has many brands, including Coke, Dasani, Gold Peak Tea, Powerade and Minute Maid. Trusted Fraternal Life is like the Coca-Cola Company with multiple brands.

Why now?
Joining with the newly established Trusted Fraternal Life now gives us the opportunity to take an active role in building the family of fraternal brands model. The immediate opportunities we have to propel product and distribution expansion together make this the right time for us to become a member of this family.

What is Catholic United Financial’s status?
We are financially strong and well-positioned to meet all commitments to our members in their insurance and annuity contracts. This merger is not driven out of necessity, but rather by the clear and enormous
advantages which it would bring to our members — including Trusted Fraternal Life’s exceptional financial strength “A” rating by the independent global rating agency, Kroll Bond Rating Agency.

Why should we join Trusted Fraternal Life? Why this organization?
We have a long and productive working relationship with Catholic Financial Life, which is now Trusted Fraternal Life. Our relationship began with an asset management coalition and expanded five years ago with our Conventus Now technology joint venture. Our missions, visions, and values are aligned and our people work well together.

Is Trusted Fraternal Life a Catholic organization?
Catholic Financial Life became Trusted Fraternal Life in March 2024 and is now a brand of Trusted Fraternal Life. All the things that make Catholic Financial Life who and what they are continues just as it has over the past 155 years — charitable support for Catholic schools and parishes, serving the poor through St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Relief Services, and Catholic education scholarships.

What happens to my policies and products?
The contractual commitments made to members with Catholic United Financial products would become the responsibility of, and be supported by, the financial strength of Trusted Fraternal Life. New products would continue to be recognized with the iconic Catholic United Financial logo as a Trusted Fraternal Life brand.

Will this change Catholic United Financial’s investing principles?
No. Catholic United Financial assets would continue to be invested following the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops investing guidelines. These include protecting human life, promoting human dignity, enhancing the common good, pursuing economic justice and saving our global common home.

Would this change who I contact for service or to buy a policy?
No. Catholic United Financial members can continue to work with the same Member Advisor they have worked with and trust, or continue to call 1-800-568-6670 for any service request or product inquiries.

How would my council or volunteer team change?
All Councils and Parish Volunteer Teams of Catholic United Financial would remain and operate as chapters of Trusted Fraternal Life. Councils and Parish Volunteer Teams would keep all their members, leaders and assets. Councils and Parish Volunteer Teams would continue under the existing Catholic United Financial match fund program in 2025. Starting in 2026, Councils and Parish Volunteer Teams will transition to the more generous Trusted Fraternal Life match plan with incremental additional match funds: $2,000 in 2026; $2,500 in 2027; and $3,000 in 2028.

How would this change impact delegates?
All members – including delegates – would be able to run for or cast their vote to elect the Board of Directors of Trusted Fraternal Life. Delegates would no longer vote to amend the constitution and bylaws; instead, that would be the authority of the Trusted Fraternal Life Board.

How would this change impact employees?
We are too early in the process to say anything about a future staffing plan. We are committed to ongoing honest and transparent communication regarding how this change would impact jobs. We acknowledge there are some redundant positions across Trusted Fraternal Life and the potential for positions to change. Rest assured, we would need employees to continue to market and sell Catholic United Financial-branded products, provide service to existing members, and support members in their volunteer efforts well after the merger.

Will the Catholic United Financial home office move to Milwaukee or close?
The home office of Trusted Fraternal Life is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We are committed to having an office in Minnesota until at least December 31, 2027, which may be maintained for much longer if it is deemed to be in the best interests of serving Catholic United Financial members.

Does this change the company’s not-for-profit status?
Catholic United Financial would join Trusted Fraternal Life, which is also an IRC §501(c)(8) Fraternal Beneficiary Society.

Would Catholic United Financial be renamed?
The Catholic United Financial logo would continue as a Trusted Fraternal Life brand. This would be consistent with Trusted Fraternal Life’s other brands: Catholic Financial Life, Woman’s Life and Degree of Honor.

Would Catholic United Financial still have a president and board of directors?
No. The Catholic United Financial brand and its supporting operations would ultimately become the responsibility of Trusted Fraternal Life’s President and CEO, John Borgen. Mr. Borgen has personal ties to Minnesota and is committed to preserving the mission, legacy and work of Catholic United Financial.

A Brand Advisory Board consisting of Catholic United Financial members would be appointed to advise Mr. Borgen about unique facets of the brand including Catholic United Financial’s specific purpose, identity, expression and member experience. All members would be able to run for and cast their vote to elect the Board of Directors of Trusted Fraternal Life.

If approved, when would the changes be enacted?
If approved by Catholic United Financial delegates in the Business Session of the Triennial Conference on September 14, 2024, and subsequently approved by the respective state insurance regulators in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the merger would be effective on January 1, 2025.

How long has Catholic United Financial leadership been considering this change? Why wasn’t this mentioned in earlier communications?
The Officers and Board of Directors of Catholic United Financial became aware of Catholic Financial Life’s strategy to create Trusted Fraternal Life as a family of fraternal brands in September 2023. These leaders discussed the opportunity with Trusted Fraternal Life and authorized a confidential Letter of Intent in February 2024 to commence due diligence discussions to fully evaluate the possibility of unification via a merger. This due diligence process took nearly five months. Afterwards, each organization’s board met separately in late June 2024 and unanimously approved the proposed plan of the merger. The nature and timing of this process did not allow for earlier public communication. We wanted to get the word out as soon as possible, which is why we developed and sent a special edition of Our Catholic Journey magazine to the membership.