Cornerstone League Opens as Nation's Largest
Cornerstone Credit Union League – which merged the Arkansas Credit Union League, the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma and Texas Credit Union League in May – opened for business Monday as the largest credit union league in the U.S.
Texas Credit Union League President/CEO Dick Ensweiler has been selected to serve as the first CEO of the new, Dallas-based league that will serve 646 credit unions.
"It's an honor to have been selected to lead this organization,” Ensweiler said in a prepared statement. “With the combined talent, knowledge and resources of our three states, we are enthusiastic about enhancing member services for our credit unions so they can better serve their members."
The new league will operate state capital satellite offices in Little Rock, Oklahoma City and Austin, primarily to promote and protect the interests of the credit union movement in the state legislatures. Each office will have its own president.
"This is truly an exciting day for the credit union movement,” said Dwayne Ashcraft, president/CEO of the $68 million Arkansas Superior Federal Credit Union in Warren, Ark., who is also a board director of the Cornerstone Credit Union League. "These past several years of working together have proven productive and fruitful, which is a good indication of what's to come in this partnership."The credit unions in each state were notified at their annual league meetings in 2012 that the three leagues were discussing a consolidation proposal.
On Dec. 17, the boards of the three leagues announced their intention to pursue consolidation into a single regional organization. However, the state leagues initially began discussing the possibility of a merger in 2009.
Many in the credit union industry viewed the consolidation of the leagues as inevitable because of the many mergers that are occurring among credit unions across the country. With less dues-paying credit union members, it becomes 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.
The member credit unions from the three leagues voted to approve the consolidation this spring.
In addition to Cornerstone, a proposed merger of the credit union leagues of the Carolinas is under way.
The boards of directors of the South Carolina Credit Union League and North Carolina Credit Union League voted in May to recommend that their member credit unions approve consolidation of the two leagues. The member credit unions are expected to vote on the merger question by September.
A wave of league consolidations began in 2007 when the North and South Dakota Credit Union Leagues formed the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas.
Later, the Maryland and Washington, D.C., leagues combined, as did the Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming credit union leagues under the Mountain West Credit Union Association, the Alabama and Florida credit union leagues merged under the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, and the Oregon and Washington credit union leagues consolidated under the Northwest Credit Union Association.