BISMARCK, N.D. – Marking a dramatic shift in the state’s credit union landscape, Capital CU of Bismarck and Town and Country CU of Minot, the state’s second and third largest CUs respectively, are planning a merger this June. The combined institution would have more than $300 million in assets, nearly a dozen offices in three of the state’s biggest cities and a service base representing 40% of CU members in North Dakota. “We are both strong and growing credit unions who see this merger as a way to diversify and grow our membership,” explained Robert Horne, the chairman of the $133 million T and C. The proposed merger comes at a time T and C’s veteran CEO, Rodger Denny, is planning to retire in June 2008, said Horne. T and C is slated to be the surviving CU. Members of the two CUs will vote on the proposed merger April 6 with formal applications being readied for state regulators and NCUA, said Horne. The merger, said officials, reflects the growing national trend toward CU and bank mergers which have been particularly predominant in this sparsely populated rural state in recent months. Greg Tschider, a Bismarck attorney representing the $163 million Capital CU, said the two CUs are “strong, viable credit unions” but a merger provides economies of scale and added operating strengths. The two CUs will complement each other in several areas with T and C as an expert in agriculture loans while Capital has specialized in commercial, home and auto loans, said Tschider. “Hopefully there will be many efficiencies realized” that will benefit the combined CU, with data processing a key area, said Tschider who also serves as legal counsel for the soon-to-be-merged North Dakota Credit Union League. That league is set to combine with the South Dakota Credit Union League under the Mid America CU League banner. Denny, the retiring CEO of T and C, actually started with Capital in 1973, said Tschider. The president/CEO of Capital CU is Debra Gallagher. Horne stressed that it will be up to the members of both CUs to approve the decision to merge on April 6. Once that threshold is cleared and regulatory approval received, a new name will be selected, he said. The merged CU would be able to serve members in Bismarck, Fargo and Minot through existing branches plus more planned in June. -

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