Recognizing the heightened interest in mergers, the Texas Credit Union League is launching a matchmaker service for credit unions involved in takeovers.
The free service, offered through a subsidiary, Credit Union Resources Inc., is intended "neither to promote nor encourage credit union mergers," but as an alternative to what league officials said are more costly options from the private sector.
Under the package plan, league officials arrange an introductory meeting between potential partners and help facilitate confidentiality agreements, but step out of the picture once negotiations begin. The league noted that CUR can be hired on a "for fee" basis if requested by either party.
However, at least one vendor in the field was not impressed by the league's offering.
"The TCUL process appears that they expect the credit unions that 'sign on' want to immediately talk to other credit unions and be merged out," said David Bartoo, president of Portland, Ore.-based Merger Solutions Group. "That is the opposite of common merger behavior and protocol for most credit unions. Some credit unions take months to years to make a decision, and that may be to stay the course."
Bartoo said his model lets credit unions "see every possible scenario [and] control their strategy without interference from vendors or acquiring credit unions."
And he took exception to that idea that the service is pricy. "At a registration fee of under $20 per month for credit unions that want to acquire, and free, confidential partner queries for merging credit unions, we do not see how this is considered costly."
Furthermore, Bartoo said, "The league model is very narrow in scope and exclusionary to league members."
But Michael Delker, TCUL vice president of credit union relations, maintained its merger service was designed not to be all encompassing or have a national range, but simply "to meet the need of our members."