Failed credit union mergers may be a hot topic this week but two competing Idaho CUs – the $113 million ISU CU and $17 million Pocatello Teachers FCU – announced Thursday that they would merge on Feb. 1.
Talks have been under way in the Idaho community since last November “but let me say we took extra care with town halls and were open about making sure members understood completely what was in store,” declared Robert V. Taylor, president/CEO of 16,000-member ISU CU, the surviving institution.
The results of a final vote were announced on Wednesday night at a special meeting of 2,500-member Pocatello Teachers.
“Both of the merging credit unions are education based and already share some membership,” said Taylor, who added that he was taken aback when he read about a failed merger bid by the $432 million Horizon CU of Spokane, Wash., and $63 million Montana First CU of Missoula, Mont.
“I guess you could say those Montanans are pretty independent and are not crazy about out-of- staters,” observed Taylor. Management at both Horizon and Montana First contend that was not the pivotal issue when the Montana members rejected the merger in a Jan. 5 vote.
Earlier this week, members of a Baton Rouge credit union turned down a merger offer from a larger credit union in suburban New Orleans.
“I got that first alert you sent out on Montana First and I honestly was unaware of the defeat and then within hours I got the one on Louisiana and I said ‘wow,’” Taylor said, adding that he felt fairly certain his CU had handled the pre-merger communications successfully.
In Idaho, the final vote by Pocatello Teachers members in favor of the merger “was 19 to 1” said Taylor, a result he called “very gratifying.”
Pocatello Teachers, he said, has been a “struggling credit union for some time and was under an NCUA capital restoration plan.”
ISU Credit Union was formed in 1952 to serve the staff and faculty of what was then Idaho State College. Membership now includes 16 school districts in eastern Idaho and a number of other employers. The merger will bring in employees and students in Pocatello School District 25.