Just a day after detailing three new mergers of small Wisconsin credit unions, the $1.7 billion Landmark CU is adding still another, the $13 million Peoples CU of Cudahy.
According to its management, the suburban Milwaukee CU holds a distinctive place in the state’s CU history retaining one of the oldest charters (1933) as well as veteran CEO.
“This credit union has been my baby for 38 years but I know for the sake of what the members need it was time we agreed to a merger,” lamented Paul Burkhardt, who has been president those years and may also rank as having the most tenure of any Wisconsin CEO.
Burkhardt said Landmark, which during 2011 has been on the fast track in searching out small and healthy CUs for merger possibilities, came to his board “a few months ago and after some difficult soul searching we agreed.”
“I’ve had a love affair with this place and it is hard to give it up,” said the 66-year-old Burkhardt noting that he realizes he is at retirement age. He joined the CU “with no credit union experience.” He had previously owned and operated a gift shop next door to the CU.
The CU with 2,000 members has long been a healthy one with net worth at 12.57%.
Burkhardt said his board approved the merger bid with Landmark Nov. 29 with a formal announcement made in Milwaukee newspapers Wednesday. The Landmark notice combined Peoples with previous Landmark merger plans for three other CUs, the $22.5 million American CU of Milwaukee; the $22 million Co-Operative CU of Racine ; and the $26.2 million Horizon CU, also of Racine. Previously in 2011, Landmark merged the $1 million Brownberry CU of Oconomowoc and the $2 million Western States Envelope CU of Butler.
Landmark headquartered in New Berlin, also a Milwaukee suburb, has set Dec. 31 for completing all of its southeast Wisconsin mergers. It expects to integrate all of the computer systems during the first and second quarters of 2012.
Burkhardt, like other CEOs of small CUs, said the compliance burden had become overwhelming in recent years. “It’s really pandemic,” he quipped explaining that it covers every facet of the operation. “It is never ending,” he said concluding, “I can’t understand how a business that is basically so simple become so complicated.”