VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Amid the nation's financial upheaval, small and medium sized credit unions ought to be looking at mergers as a safe haven, attendees at the Washington Credit Union League annual convention were told over the weekend.
"In our area, the negative impact remains strong with so many losing their jobs, but we thought that a partnership among three like-minded credit unions would work well," explained Thomas Miller, president/CEO of the $100 million Affinity Group CU of Pontiac, Mich.
Considering the financial turmoil now, Affinity's 15-month partnership with two other Detroit area CUs in which their names and brands are retained but the Pontiac CU holds the charter has proved successful, said Miller, who spoke on a merger panel at the league conference.
In a different merger scenario, Robert Schumacher, president/CEO of the newly rebranded MountainCrest CU of Everett, described a combination last February of Educational Community CU, also of Everett into MountainCrest in which the consolidated CU could take advantage of opening a new headquarters building. In October MountainCrest expects to open its fifth branch in Lynwood.
"It's so important that boards have the right attitudes and we've managed to blend those attitudes in a merger that works," said Schumacher, a past director of the National Credit Union Foundation.