The planned October merger by Navy Federal Credit Union of the ailing USA Fed CU last week generated both catch-your-breath predictions on the nation's future CU landscape plus stand- your-ground pledges by one West Coast competitor.
Issuing the trends forecast of 2,500 U.S. mergers by 2015 was consultant and former NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar who said the survivor CUs will be stronger and better positioned to compete.
The interest in mergers, nonetheless, has been robust of late, he said, with Dollar Associates "currently working on over a dozen mergers with phone call volume over 80% merger related."
Meanwhile, one of Navy Fed's prime West Coast competitors, the $4 billion Alaska USA FCU of Anchorage, said while it goes head-to-head competing for business with the nation's largest CU, it had little interest this summer in submitting a merger bid for USA Fed even though the San Diego CU has branches on prime U.S. and overseas bases.
Alaska USA, said Dan McCue, senior vice president-corporate administration, remains focused on its own California strategy of picking military installations in the state's high desert country and in other locales.
There's no doubt, however, that Navy FCU has found "a sweet spot" in the USA acquisition. But USA Fed "has not been part of our overall plan," said McCue.
In its expansion, Alaska USA is "looking at growth areas and military installations contiguous to the areas we serve," said McCue. The Anchorage CU had been a successful bidder this summer to buy a group of four branches, including one shared facility in the San Bernardino-Big Bear area from the NCUA-conserved Arrowhead Central CU. An original part of the deal involving consumer loans was eventually rejected by NCUA.