In a move reflecting continued economizing by the industry, the Colorado and Wyoming Credit Union Associations are making plans for a formal merger later this year as part of the ongoing consolidation trend among state leagues.Officials of the two trade groups said the planned merger and formation of a new Mountain states organization, yet to be named, reflects the shrinking numbers of credit unions in the region and underscores the need to pare budget expense and duplications.If the merger is approved by respective members in special meetings, the linkup would effectively end the 12-year management compact in which the 26 Wyoming CUs are served out of the Colorado group’s Denver office as well as a satellite operation in Casper.“There is no guarantee that a formal merger will occur,” forecast Larry Knopp, chairman of the Wyoming group and president/CEO of the $160 million Uniwyo CU of Laramie. The league boards have signed a letter of intent.“In this time of consolidation of credit unions, our members want us to pursue ways to continue providing them high-quality association services while looking for new ways to operate more efficiently and effectively,” said Knopp.Douglas Ferraro, chairman of the Colorado association and president/CEO of Bellco CU of Greenwood Village, said the trend toward fewer CUs shows no letup, which means fewer leagues.“Colorado and Wyoming are fortunate to have already formed a close bond, which makes these discussions both easier and, hopefully, more successful,” said Ferraro.The Bellco CEO said the combined organization “would have new recognition” in the public arena. A subcommittee of the two associations, which could comprise CUs in the two states, is being organized.John Dill, president/CEO of both associations, said the boards are “looking not just to merge, but to create something bigger and stronger out of our combined efforts.”In a merger, Dill said there are a host of issues that will have to be dealt with in the forthcoming discussions, including governance, board and committee appointments, dues, annual meeting locations and staff coverage, among other areas.Knopp said one area that could result in cost savings would be holding one annual meeting rather than two.–[email protected]

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