The Virginia Bankers Association moved ahead this week to formally introduce bills in the state legislature permitting banks to "consolidate or merge" with credit unions and vice versa.
Calling the bills "flawed" and unworkable, the Virginia Credit Union League was acting swiftly to mount a lobbying campaign to defeat the bills slated for hearing in separate House and Senate committees.
"We are simply confused and surprised at the opposition of the credit union league since this bill in essence provides parity enabling what national banks and federal credit unions can do already," explained Bruce T. Whitehurst, president/CEO of VBA.
There are already precedents, he said, for the CU/bank combinations pointing to the 2006 consolidation of Nationwide FCU into Nationwide Bank of Columbus, Ohio.
Whitehurst said "it's no secret that credit unions have grown quite well" in recent years making some of their branch sites and market penetration desirable for banks and "the situation is just as well for credit unions looking at community banks."
The bills, sponsored by House Delegate Mark Sickles (D-Alexandria) and Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Springfield), have been referred to the House and Senate Labor and Commerce Committees with no word on hearing dates. Sickles is a member of the House panel and Saslaw is majority leader of the Virginia Senate.
In opposing the bills, the Virginia League maintains the legislation "is very complex" and needs far more analysis particularly on protection of members rights in voting a non-stock CU into a stock corporation.