Porter Warns Against Using First Tech Merger as Exact Template
The head of the new $4.7 billion First Tech Federal Credit Union, Benson Porter, cautioned Thursday against credit unions elsewhere using the California/Oregon mega-merger as an exact template or business model.
"This merger of ours is really unique as a merger of equals and it's not always easy to put together a consolidation with two different cultures or business strategies but with us it has worked well," Porter said, commenting on the final membership vote taken last week on the Jan. 1 startup of the Oregon/California CU.
With offices in suburban Portland and in Palo Alto, Calif. and with 380,000 members in eight states, First Tech FCU is making plans for a January rollout of its new brand as the two CUs, First Tech and Addison Avenue FCU, are combined.
"One thing I can say is that I guess we're really pleased at the high approval rating we did receive--80% of 11,590 members of First Tech," said Porter, who is president/CEO of Addison Avenue.
Apart from both CUs serving a high tech clientele and multiple SEGs, Porter noted also as a point of commonality that both First Tech and Addison shared the same operation platform which will ease the transition during 2011.
Recalling his own experience as a former executive with the now merged Washington Mutual Savings Bank of Seattle, a Chase entity, Porter said there are any number of pitfalls in executing a merger "and when there are two divergent cultures or goals" or management friction, "you can have a mess."