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DEADWOOD, S.D. – Floyd Rummel III, chairman of the newly formed Mid America Credit Union League, has some advice for League peers working on trade group mergers. “It’s a long process that took us six to seven years” to complete, commented Rummel, in discussing the combination of the North and South Dakota Leagues as well as the collapse last month of merger talks between the Washington Credit Union League and the Credit Union Association of Oregon. Rummel, who also is president of Dakota Territory FCU here, said he wasn’t “surprised” that the planned merger of the two Northwest Leagues came undone considering the years of legwork required to put together the consolidation of the two Dakota Leagues. The newly organized Mid America, to be headquartered in Bismarck and with a board made up of top executives from both states, is set to begin formal business at yearend and is in the process of interviewing finalists for the president/CEO job. The timetable for picking a new manager was set earlier this year as July 1 with consolidation of the two service corporations and staff moves to be completed through the remainder of 2004. In addition, the headquarters building of the South Dakota League in Sioux Falls is already on the auction block “with a few interested buyers,” said Rummel. Rummel, who is the former chairman of the South Dakota League, said that he was taken aback at the news divulged at the GAC in February that the Oregon and Washington Leagues were making plans to merge in 2004. “When I heard their proposed schedule, I said `whoa,’” declared Rummel referring to what he said was the apparent optimism of the two boards in proceeding with a merger. The South Dakota CU executive said he has no insight on what might have broken up the talks – “only speculation” – but there “are always problems with trying to get out of long term leases” and that may have been the hangup. “I think they decided to simply wait a while,” said Rummel who did consult last spring with the leadership of both the Washington and Oregon Leagues. As for Mid America, he said committees are narrowing the candidate list for the CEO job with “in person interviews” slated later this month. Once a new CEO is hired, said Rummel, there will be work to be done “in blending policies and practices” of the two Leagues. One candidate who has withdrawn his application for Mid America president is Kermit Larson, the 62-year-old interim president of the North Dakota League. Larson said he would stay with the League “in whatever position the new president decide,s but I believe the new board will be getting a younger person” for the CEO slot. Larson has been with the 57-member North Dakota League for 15 years and has been interim president and senior consultant since November 2002. The South Dakota League also has a veteran staff head who is retiring – 63-year old Donald Couch, who has been that League’s president for years and who like Larson has helped in consolidation negotiations. Couch has agreed to formally leave the League once operations combining the two trade groups are completed… -

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