NCUA Announces Catalyst to Acquire Western Bridge Operation

Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union has been awarded a bid by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for “the exclusive right to acquire” operations of the failed Western Bridge Corporate Federal Credit Union (WesCorp). An estimated 50 percent of Oregon and Washington credit unions were participating members of WesCorp. Their accounts will automatically be transferred over to Catalyst, offering those credit unions the opportunity for a seamless transition.

Richard Hein, president and CEO of OSU Federal Credit Union, is a member of the Catalyst board of directors.

“This is an excellent choice by the NCUA and for the Western Bridge members and Catalyst Corporate members,” Hein said. “This decision provides a credit industry solution to address needs by credit unions of all sizes. Catalyst Corporate is uniquely positioned to partner in the transition of Western Bridge Corporate Federal Credit Union. Catalyst Corporate also has one of the lowest capital requirements in the industry. Both Corporates have many things in common, from systems and services to partnering on several projects over the years. Catalyst Corporate offers all of the services Western Bridge Corporate is currently offering its members. In addition, Catalyst has an excellent track record of increased efficiencies through consolidating other corporates’ operations, which is one of the reasons Catalyst Corporate has obtained a leverage ratio of 5.01 percent, meeting the NCUA’s requirement for well-capitalized status well in advance of the deadline.”

Catalyst CEO Dianne Addington said the corporate made a bid on WesCorp after careful consideration, adding she is “very pleased” with the results.

“This proposal demonstrates that Catalyst Corporate is an exceptional fit for transitioning Western Bridge members smoothly and cost-effectively, for several reasons, which include: many shared products and systems, our team’s familiarity with Western Bridge operations gained through previous partnerships, and our proven track record of successful consolidations,” Addington said in an email to credit unions. She promised a series of town hall meetings and other efforts to share information with WesCorp members.

“Catalyst has a proven track record of integrating operations in prior acquisitions and employing sound business practices to maintain continuity of operations,” said NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz in the agency’s news release. “We are confident that Catalyst will provide the same array of payments services presently provided by Western Bridge to its member consumer credit unions.”

This is not the first milestone for Catalyst this month; only weeks after being created by the merger of Georgia Corporate Federal Credit Union and Southwest Bridge Corporate Federal Credit Union, Catalyst achieved “well-capitalized” status. Before the acquisition of WesCorp, Catalyst reported 890 capitalized members “with more than $95 million in perpetual contributed capital.”

In its heyday, WesCorp boasted more than $30 billion in assets. After its collapse in 2009, the regulator controlled the operation as Western Bridge until its liquidation in the fall of 2011. The NCUA began looking for a successor, reviewing proposals from other corporates that would minimize disruption to the Western Bridge members and provide systems compatibility, according to Scott Hunt, Director of the Office of Corporate Credit Unions for the NCUA.

Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) leadership called the development a “solution” for Northwest credit unions.

“It closes a chapter on the corporate situation and brings a direction for the credit unions of the Northwest,” said John Annaloro, CEO. 

NWCUA President Troy Stang added, “It demonstrates the power of the cooperative movement—what can happen when people come together.”

A follow-up report will be filed in tomorrow’s Anthem newsletter.


Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor:

Posted in Federal, NCUA.