The Cornerstone Credit Union League will open its doors for business on July 1.
The Credit Union Association of Oklahoma voted Tuesday to merge with the Texas Credit Union League and the Arkansas Credit Union League to form the largest U.S. regional cooperative organization, one that will serve more than 600 credit unions.
According to voting results, 49 credit union members voted for the merger while 10 voted against it at CUAOK’s annual conference and expo in Norman, Okla.
“Given the outcome of today’s vote, it’s quite clear that Oklahoma credit unions are progressive and forward-focused,” says CUAOK President/CEO Gary Jones. “I’m very excited to have the voting behind us because now we can focus on building the Cornerstone Credit Union League.”
The Texas and Arkansas leagues approved the proposed merger in April. While the new Cornerstone Credit Union League will not become effective until July 1, its new board of directors will begin meeting to help ensure a smooth transition.
“This is truly a momentous occasion,” said Gina Wilson, CUAOK board chair and CEO of the $491 million Oklahoma Central Credit Union in Tulsa, of Tuesday’s vote. “We’ve been discussing and working toward this goal since last summer and it’s wonderful to see our efforts come to fruition.”
Credit union leaders in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas have acknowledged that the consolidation of the leagues was inevitable because of the growing trend of mergers and acquisitions among credit unions.
With fewer dues-paying credit union members, it has become increasingly difficult for smaller leagues such as Arkansas and Oklahoma to keep up with rising costs and to deliver the products and services credit unions need.
Proponents of the consolidation have said it will provide the credit unions in Arkansas and the credit unions in Oklahoma with access to expanded products and services, and strengthen credit union advocacy, networking and educational opportunities.
Other league consolidations are under way in North Carolina and South Carolina. Last week, the boards of directors of the South Carolina Credit Union League and North Carolina Credit Union League voted to recommend that their member credit unions approve consolidation of the two leagues.
Although Cornerstone’s operations will be based in Dallas, an office will remain in each state capital to advocate for credit unions in their respective state legislatures.
The new league’s board will include three directors each from Oklahoma and Arkansas and 12 from Texas.
The inaugural board comprises from Texas: James S. Tuggle of the $39 million Transtar FCU in Houston; Kenny Harrington of the $188 million MemberSource CU in Houston; Paul Withey of the $289 million Texas Bay Area CU in Houston; Carol Murray of the $6 million Express-News FCU in San Antonio; JoBetsy Tyler of the $58 million First Central CU in Waco; Paul A. Trylko of the $612 million Amplify FCU in Austin; Nancy M. Croix Stroud of the $42 million First Class American CU in Forth Worth; Robert Peterson of the $87 million One Source FCU in El Paso; James L. Boyd of the $348 million Abilene Teachers FCU in Abilene; Z. Suzanne Chism, of the $14 million Texas Health Resources CU in Dallas; Kay Stewart of the $124 million North East Texas CU in Lone Star and Jim Brisendine of the $371 million Resource One CU in Dallas.
From Oklahoma, the Cornerstone board members will be: Jason Boesch of the $25 million Oklahoma RE&T Employees CU in Oklahoma City; Gina Wilson of the $474 million Oklahoma Central CU in Tulsa and Michael Kloiber of the $2.9 billion Tinker FCU in Oklahoma City.
From Arkansas, the Cornerstone board members will be Windy Campbell of the $10 million Electric Cooperatives FCU in Little Rock; Dwayne Ashcraft of the $64 million Arkansas Superior FCU, in Warren, and Allen Brown of the $106 million Mil-Way FCU in Texarkana.