Mergers and acquisitions in the credit union industry are expected to continue for years to come, and making them work was the focus of a webinar hosted Wednesday by Credit Union Times.
The Credit Union Leadership Forum webinar included a panel of industry experts who shared insights and best practices that can help ensure successful merger and acquisition agreements.
While takeovers are a good way for credit unions to grow, they can be very challenging and complex, the participants said, but they agreed that a focus on the right issues from the outset can benefit everyone involved.
“Only do business with people you trust,” said Doug Petersen, president/CEO of the $880 million Workers Credit Union in Fitchburg, Mass., who said he has been involved in about nine mergers over the last 16 years. “If you can’t build trusting relationships then walk away.”
Guy Messick, partner for Messick & Lauer P.C., gave a step-by-step outline of the merger and acquisition process, and Shawn Gilfedder, president/CEO of the $293 million McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union in East Windsor, N.J., discussed capital and regulatory considerations.
Trust has to be developed between the CEOs as well as the board of directors of both credit unions, added a specialist in governance and leadership consulting.
Stuart Levine, chairman/CEO of Stuart Levine & Associates LLC, an international strategic planning and leadership development company, stressed the need to gather independent data from the appropriate board members to assess the appetite for merger among members of the two boards.
“That independent review and listening process of the boards, CEOs and senior leadership tells you very early before you commit to large sums of member resources, time and energy what the reality (of the merger) will be and what will be the opportunities look like for the proposed merger,” Levine said.