In an unusual move apparently reflecting the changing financial landscape, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association said Friday it is teaming up with a community banker group to start joint training sessions this fall.
"Politics aside, we may disagree on lots of issues but we find many of the challenges among credit unions and community banks very much alike," said a spokesman for PCUA.
Similarly, Kristine Warner, vice president-community and government relations for the 120-member Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers, said the "past two years and what has gone down on Dodd-Frank has shown us that the big divide is no longer so much between banks and credit unions but between the big banks and smaller financial institutions."
There many areas "of mutual interest that we should be working on together," Warner said, detailing plans for March 1 signups among bank and CU leaders for what she said will be a multi-week pilot series of education sessions dealing with such topics as leadership, management training and lending being organized strictly for women in the field.
The "Women's Leadership" sessions will be held in some eight cities across the state, she said.
Warner said speakers are being lined up for the program which should reflect "the natural synergy" between community banks and CUs.
She said she was unaware of similar joint CU/bank trade ventures but added there is no reason Pennsylvania cannot be a trailblazer.
In a message to PCUA's membership, President/CEO James McCormack said the series with PACB demonstrates a collaborative effort "to offer education, training/networking opportunities on common issues."
"This would be historic," McCormack wrote. "We can all benefit from one another, particularly community bankers."
The joint sessions, officials said, are the result of frank talks held this fall between McCormack and Nick DiFrancesco,the new president/CEO of PACB hired Sept. 1. McCormack and DiFrancesco had frequently worked together in the government relations area since DiFrancesco is a former commissioner of Dauphin County.