PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon public, witness to squabbles over credit union structure over the last year and a half, now can see how a classic merger is implemented, according to the president/CEO of the newly-combined Advantis CU. “I think we’ve done it right,” said Ron Barrick, the head of the $470 million Advantis, which effective Oct. 1 merged Electra Central Credit Union of Milwaukee with the $330 million PACE CU of Portland. In one of the more unusual `all in the family’ circumstances, Barrick had been CEO of PACE while his wife, Cindy, had been CEO of Electra. She announced last April of her plans to resign the CEO spot once the merger was complete. Since then she has continued as chief coordinator of the merger. In detailing what he sees as a textbook example of executing a merger, Ron Barrick said the management of the two CUs worked extra hard at ensuring all parties-members, staff, SEG groups and regulators -were fully informed of the merger’s financial impact. “We did that from the very start,” said Barrick in describing how the CUs held meetings with the various entities and sent out extensive paperwork to explain the merger’s ramifications. The two CUs “had to explain how this was a merger that made sense and could benefit members of both organizations in creating economic efficiencies and new product lines.” Barrick said the Advantis merger was completed amidst negative CU headlines emanating from the defeated mutual conversion of Columbia CU in suburban Vancouver, Washington as well as the called-off merger between Portland Teachers CU and Oregon Community CU. “There were different conditions in both of these cases as compared to what we were able to accomplish,” observed Barrick. In a formal statement issued at an Oct. 3 ceremony, the new chairman of Advantis, Robert Pearson, formerly of Electra, said the merger “has always been about forming a partnership with another credit union that shares similar values and a similar membership base.” Both CUs are anchored by employee groups that have been serving the public as their core mission, said the release. Electra has served over 200 SEGs including employees of PGE, PacificCorp and Tri-Met while PACE’s membership included employees of public bodies and quasi-public agencies. The new vice chairman of Advantis is John Hren, former chairman of PACE. Barrrick said his wife, Cindy, “is planning to take a break from credit unions and may have something to announce very soon, perhaps next week.” -email@example.com
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