Credit Union Leagues Vote to Merge
The trend of state leagues consolidating continues as credit unions in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island vote this month to determine whether to merge their trade associations.
Throughout 2014, the boards of the Massachusetts Credit Union League, the New Hampshire Credit Union League and Credit Union Association of Rhode Island have been working on a merger framework to officially consolidate the three organizations, Paul Gentile, president/CEO of the three trade groups, said.
“The merged league will be called the Cooperative Credit Union Association,” he said. “We believe there are great synergies and great opportunity by bringing these three associations together and now is the right time to so.”
Member credit unions of the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island voted 28-0 last week and member credit unions of the New Hampshire Credit Union League voted 26-0 Wednesday in favor of the consolidation, Gentile said. Electronic voting for member credit unions of the Massachusetts Credit Union League opened Wednesday and in-person voting will be held Oct. 22.
If approved by member credit unions in the Bay State, this merger will be the eighth league consolidation since 2007.
“The strong support we received in Rhode Island and New Hampshire with unanimous votes demonstrates the confidence our members have in this new model,” Gentile said.
“The governance model has been thoughtfully crafted ensuring all states have a strong voice in the future of the association,” he added. “The core tenet of local representation resonated with our members. We have a structure in place to ensure local advocacy is not only strong, but enhanced with our model.”
Formal consolidation discussions originated in December 2013 when the executive committees from each of the three trade groups formed a decision making body committee to develop the groundwork for the merger proposal.
David Surface, president/CEO of the $153 million St. Jean’s Credit Union in Lynn, Mass., and chairperson of the Massachusetts league, said the DMB committee invested a lot of time and thought in developing the governance structure of the new trade association.
The board will consist of nine members: five from Massachusetts, two from Rhode Island and two from New Hampshire, Gentile said.
“Each state will have representatives from a large credit union and a small credit union,” Surface said. “It’s very important for folks to know that we spent a lot of time and energy on this [governance] model to ensure that everybody’s voice is heard.”
The board seats will be determined by using the average asset size of the credit unions in each state, Gentile explained. To ensure equality, some seats will be filled by credit unions with above average assets and some seats will be filled by credit unions with below average assets.
“Another important thing with the governance is there will be super majority provisions,” Gentile said. “That means no one state can dominate the other when (we decide) key strategic issues.”
Although the three leagues will form a larger organization, they will maintain their local identities when meeting with local and state officials. They also will continue to support charities, community programs and other initiatives in their respective states.