Northwest Credit Union Association Formed

With an overwhelming membership vote and board affirmation of the merger between the Credit Union Association of Oregon and the Washington Credit Union League, the newly created Northwest Credit Union Association is set to begin operations on Jan. 1, 2011.

“It’s been a very exciting, very busy few months preparing for the vote, and moving forward as a regional organization,” says Washington Credit Union League Chairman Debie Keesee, President & CEO of Spokane Media FCU. “It’s gratifying to know that our efforts will benefit credit unions for decades to come.”

“Both boards acknowledged that our memberships would be listening very carefully,” says Oregon Credit Union Association Chairman Gene Pelham, President & CEO of Rogue FCU. “We made the case to our credit unions and they responded. Now it is time to move forward into our next chapter.”

The first step in moving forward for the Northwest Credit Union Association is introducing its new brand identity to the credit union community. In the works for months, the three-color logo is credit union-centric and pays homage to the association’s northwest roots.

“As we embrace the new organization, it is also our responsibility to reflect on what the last 75 or so years have meant to our region’s credit unions,” says Washington Credit Union League President & CEO John Annaloro. “Care and tradition went into building both organizations.  We would be remiss to not honor that.”

The Washington Credit Union League was incorporated on Nov. 3, 1934 with a mandate to increase the number of credit unions in the state, to improve credit union operating methods, and to help provide adequate credit union legislation. By 1970 there were 408 credit unions in the state. Today the league is still committed to those original goals and others, although one goal shifted from increasing credit unions to increasing membership in credit unions. It currently serves 118 credit unions with 2.7 million members.

The Credit Union Association of Oregon was incorporated in 1936 as the Oregon Mutual Credit League representing the legislative, educational, and service needs of Oregon’s credit unions. In 1960 the name was changed to the Oregon Credit Union League and then to the Credit Union Association of Oregon in 2000. Serving a peak of 265 credit unions in 1970, the association currently serves 85 credit unions with 1.5 million members.

Operational priorities for the new Northwest Credit Union Association will focus on governmental affairs, regulatory relief, compliance services and putting the final touches on a joint educational calendar. During months of merger discussions, which included the formation of committees and conversations with the membership, both trade associations united in identifying objectives and strategies for the NWCUA.

“I can say unequivocally that the Northwest Credit Union Association is future focused and is prepared to usher in a new era for our region’s credit unions,” says Credit Union Association of Oregon President & CEO Troy Stang. “It’s an exciting time to build on the strengths for which our organizations have long been recognized.”

There has never been a more important time to be a member of the Association. NWCUA is committed to delivering value to each and every member credit union as they join in this evolution. It is also time for the membership to contribute to building the success of the Association by lending its leadership talents to the Association as a member of the various committees and task forces that help direct its future. The region’s credit union leaders’ contributions are encouraged and welcomed as the Association’s potential value is maximized.


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