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PORTLAND, Ore. – The Northwest Corporate/Washington Corporate merger was mired in controversy because it pitted two corporates against each other. Those days are over, and the merged corporate is doing just fine thank you, says Northwest Corporate CU CEO Kathy Garner. The controversy surrounding the merger didn’t involve Northwest and Washington Corporate squaring off, but Northwest and WesCorp. Both corporates were vying to become Washington Corporate’s merger partner. WesCorp publicly campaigned to become Washington Corporate’s merger partner. WesCorp President/CEO Dick Johnson sent a letter to the CEOs of Washington CUs making the case why WesCorp was a better choice. Among his reasons were that WesCorp already served some Washington CUs and had a share draft facility in the state. But in a 93 to 28 vote, Washington CUs were overwhelmingly in favor of the merger with Northwest. “Once we got through the fourth last year, all the problems with WesCorp sending the letter really died down. It was just an unfortunate situation. I think it actually helped us, and it made credit unions angry because the corporate (Washington Corporate) was put in the middle,” said Garner. Garner said while no bad blood remains between Northwest Corporate and WesCorp she still disagrees with their public attempts to become the merger partner. The new Northwest Corporate CU now commands $1.3 billion in assets and serves 300 credit unions in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. It added five new member credit unions since the merger. “We’re continuing to grow,” said Garner, who noted that the economies of scale benefits will take time to develop. “I think it’s probably a two to three year process, finding out what staff you need where, what’s duplicated and what’s not.” Garner said the corporate has taken away some business from WesCorp in Washington, but its main competitor is primarily Federal Home Loan Banks and the Fed banks. The corporate is working to improve its presence in Washington, where it now has two offices. Technology is another focus. “I want to continue to enhance the technology. We’re testing the linking of our imaging product to our credit unions’ home banking systems,” said Garner, which would allow member CUs to pass on share draft images to their members. Northwest processes about eight million share drafts a month. [email protected]

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