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Representatives from 11 small corporates gathered at the Monte Carlo casino and hotel in Las Vegas on Dec. 15 to discuss their options for the future, including a so-called “U.S. Central branch option” in which some small retail corporates would merge into the $28 billion wholesale cooperative and survive as branch offices.Pete Pritts, CEO of the $963 million First Corporate Credit Union, said he attended the meeting and that corporate representatives brainstormed “proactive ways to provide value to members,” focusing on effects proposed regulations could have on the corporate business model.Pritts confirmed the U.S. Central proposal was among the strategies discussed. However, he called it a “new concept” and said U.S. Central is still soliciting feedback from members.Pritts declined to identify the other corporates that attended the meeting. Eastern Corporate Federal Credit Union spokesman Alan Bernstein said he was “mindful some U.S. Central members have done some planning” but said the $932 million EasCorp did not attend the meeting and he was unfamiliar with any details.NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs John McKechnie would not comment on the U.S. Central merger offer, saying only that U.S. Central did not participate in the Dec. 15 meeting.The Phoenix-based FirstCorp is still keeping all its options open, Pritts said. The CEO hosted a town hall meeting on Dec. 8 with members and shared the most likely possibilities, which even include a charter conversion to a mutual savings bank.“I’m not saying that would be a popular decision, but like I said, everything is still on the table,” Pritts said. Another option for FirstCorp would be to shift some services to a CUSO owned by members while retaining core services like asset-liability management and settlement, he said.The proposed two-year limit to the average weighted life of permissible corporate investments concerns Pritts the most, he said. It could have some unintended consequences. For example, Pritts said corporates are required to perform risk modeling that extends prepayments by 50%.“That would rule out those as acceptable investments if that were to actually occur,” he said.–[email protected]

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