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PORTLAND, Ore. – A pending merger between three Portland-area CUs will result in the formation of the state’s 11th-largest credit union with more than 40,000 members and more than $240 million in assets. Oregon Central Credit Union, Oregonian Federal Credit Union and Mountain View Credit Union said that pending regulatory and membership approvals, a merger could be completed by April. Members at Oregonian FCU and Mountain View will have to vote on the merger plan. That vote is expected to take place in March. Officials said the merger would offer expanded services for members as well as making those services more convenient from eight branches throughout the greater Portland area. “Almost everything they’re getting is what they’ve been asking us for,” said Chuck Garner, president and chief executive officer of Oregonian FCU. “We think all the members are really going to gain from this.” Officials cited the economies of scale by combining operations and also said the merger would allow for better management succession plans. “Succession planning was very important,” Garner said. “That was one of the reasons we started talking.” Mike Cline, the 62-year-old president and CEO of Oregon Central, will head the new institution, which is still to be named. He could retire in the next three to three-and-a-half years. Garner, 52, will serve as executive vice president, while Sam Launius, 42, president and CEO of Mountain View, will become vice president of operations. “A major consideration was that the merger of managements allows for a depth of experience that ensures qualified management for the new entity far into the future,” officials said in a prepared statement. Both Oregonian FCU and Mountain View are community charter credit unions while Oregon Central serves only SEGs. The new credit union would serve employer and association SEG statewide. Oregonian FCU and Mountain View would give up their community charters. Oregonian FCU, started in 1936, has $43 million in assets and 4,900 members. It originally served employees of the Oregonian Publishing Company (which publishes the Oregonian newspaper). It received its community charter in late 2000 but has seen little growth since making the switch, Garner reported. “It just hasn’t worked,” he said. “We actually dropped in deposits last year.” Mountain View, headquartered to the east in Gresham, has about $23 million in assets and 5,800 members. Founded in 1954 as Reynolds Troutdale FCU, it initially served employees at the Reynolds Aluminum Plant in Troutdale. It was granted a community charter in 1971. Garner said that merger talks between Oregonian FCU and Mountain View had taken place “on and off” over the years but that combining operations did not make financial sense. He said Mountain View has struggled for several years, wasn’t growing and lacked the funds needed to expand products and services. With Oregon Central added to the merger mix, however, joining forces made more sense, he noted. “With that (Mountain View) membership base and the branch out in east county, it makes a lot of sense for all of us,” Garner said. Oregon Central has more than $170 million and 28,000 members. Started in 1937, it said it is the only credit union in the state which can offer membership through employers and associations statewide. One of its largest SEGs, with 2,200 employees, is located in downtown Portland just a few blocks from Oregonian FCU. “Instead of opening a branch, we have the branch down here,” Garner said. “We started comparing our products and services and things and it really did make sense that we can help each other.” The new credit union will be housed in the Oregonian FCU downtown building. Garner said he didn’t expect any “drastic changes” in personnel in the wake of the merger. -

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