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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – As if to underscore a comment made recently by the chairman of the Credit Union Association of Oregon concerning the declining number of credit unions in the state due to mergers, two Oregon credit unions are in talks about a potential merger that could create a financial institution with more than $500 million in assets and some 70,000 members. The merger of Portland-based Point West Credit Union and Northwest Community Credit Union headquartered here could, if approved, be completed by the end of this year. Northwest Community would be the continuing institution. The announcement comes on the heels of another major merger announcement between CUs in the state – the NCUA approved the largest merger in credit union history between Portland Teachers CU and Oregon Community CU – that will result in the formation of a $2.2 billion credit union. The Point West/Northwest Community merger “could provide greater member benefits, including more branch and ATM locations, extended hours and increased phone-in access,” both credit unions told their members. “We would also be able to offer more products and services, enjoy greater economies of scale when developing new services, and make improvements to our computer systems and Web site capabilities. “Finally,” it said, “we would bring a more visible community charter to the counties both credit unions serve; this would help more area residents to better serve and invest in local communities.” Northwest Community was founded in 1949 by 29 members as the Weyerhaeuser Credit Union. It changed its name in 1973 to Wood Products Credit Union and became Northwest Community in 2002, when it received a community charter and began serving 12 central and western Oregon counties. Today, Northwest Community has $424 million in assets and nearly 60,000 members. It operates 12 branches in Oregon and employs more than 200 people. The smaller Point West Credit Union, formerly Multco Credit Union, was founded in 1932 to serve Multnomah County employees. It now has more than 9,500 members and assets in excess of $90 million. It operates one branch and uses shared branches and ATMs to service its members. Officials said no staff or service reductions would result from the merger. Representatives from both credit unions were scheduled to meet to discuss the merger plans. “This evaluation is expected to take several months to complete,” both credit unions told their members. “Following our due diligence activities, a decision will be made by the boards of both credit unions whether to recommend a formal merger proposal to Point West’s membership.” -

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