In Pennsylvania, the chasm between credit unions and small community banks looks to be getting smaller-at least where it comes to operations and training.
In a departure apparently reflecting a changed financial landscape, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and the state's Association of Community Bankers are making plans for pilot joint training and education sessions this fall with CU and bank sign-ups for the program slated to start March 1.
The initial sessions are being geared to female executives in both industries under the "Women's Leadership" banner.
"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.
On the same wavelength, Kristine Warner, vice president of 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 are too many areas, she said, where small banks and CUs share mutual interests "and should be working together."
The education series, said Warner, will deal with such topics as leadership skills, branch management, marketing and lending, with eight sites across the state being lined up.
The program's curriculum and the speakers will reflect "the natural synergy" between banks and small CUs, she added.
She said she was unaware of similar joint CU-bank trade ventures but there is no reason Pennsylvania cannot be a trailblazer with the PCUA-PACB sessions serving as a template.
James McCormack, president/CEO of PCUA, said the series with PACB demonstrates a collaborative effort "to offer education, training/networking opportunities on common issues."