Credit Union Consolidation Trend Marches On in 2006
The president/CEO, C. Alan Peppers, frequently stressed that consolidation "is now a way of life in Colorado" as the Denver CU says it is open to more mergers in the future. The CU also spent months in coming up with the Westerra name hiring a local agency for marketing communication.
Credit unions weren't the only industry players to consolidate. The largest corporate credit union merger ever (see more details on page 36) between Empire Corporate and Mid-States closed in what was a $10 billion deal. Another merger between $27 billion WesCorp and $1 billion VolCorp did not close in '06, but did make progress.
Key credit union vendors also joined forces. In a $1.35 billion deal, Intuit, known for its popular personal finance software, acquired digital Insight, a longtime Internet banking provider to credit unions.
In April of this year Encore Financial Services, an electronic services cooperative owned by 124 credit unions in 14 states announced that it would merge with CO-OP Financial Services, the cooperative parent of the CO-OP Network of surcharge-free ATMs.
It was a match that caught few by surprise as the two organizations had been alike in structure and philosophy for some time and had even discussed merger possibilities previously.
The merger will bring CO-OP the ability to process credit card transactions for its member credit unions, should it want to go in that direction, as well as offer them access to merchant account services. The deal will bring Encore members access to a suite of different card and ATM services as well.
Consolidation occurred on the league level as well. The North Dakota and South Dakota leagues finally agreed to a merger, after a year of chatter and attempts. The new Mid-America Credit Union League is headquartered in Bismarck, N.D. and led by CEO Anthony Richards.