Credit union members of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma voted to approve a merger with the Texas Credit Union League and the Arkansas Credit Union League to form a new regional cooperative organization–the Cornerstone Credit Union League.
According to voting results, 49 credit union members voted for the merger while 10 voted against it at CUAOK’s annual meeting 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 and 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.”
Credit union members of the Texas and the Arkansas Credit Union Leagues approved the consolidation in April. While the new Cornerstone Credit Union League will not become effective until July 1, the initial board of directors will be meeting prior to July 1 to help ensure a smooth transition.
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 trends among credit unions. With less 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.
“This is truly a momentous occasion,” said Gina Wilson, CUAOK board chair. “We’ve been discussing and working toward this goal since last summer and it’s wonderful to see our efforts come to fruition.”
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 and protect the interests of credit unions in their respective state legislatures.