iQ Credit Union, Lacamas Community Credit Union Announce Plans to Merge

Lacamas Community Credit Union President/CEO Kathleen Romane (left) and iQ Credit Union President/CEO Roger Michaelis

iQ Credit Union and Lacamas Community Credit Union, two of Southwest Washington’s oldest financial institutions, announced plans Wednesday to merge into what would become one of the area’s largest credit unions with a combined 67,000 members and total assets of more than $695 million.

The consolidation is expected to be completed in July.

“This is a strategic move that will reap rewards for both our members and our employees,” says Roger Michaelis, iQ Credit Union’s president and CEO. “Together, we’ll be an even stronger institution, with more convenient access to branches throughout the area and more efficiencies internally that will improve service to members.”

Kathleen Romane, president and CEO of Lacamas Community Credit Union, agrees.

“As part of a larger organization, all employees will have the benefit of more professional development opportunities to advance their own careers,” she says. “This is a tremendous opportunity for them to enhance their skills and growth potential.”

The timing of the announcement is linked to the pending retirements of both CEOs. Boards of both credit unions had discussed the idea of a merger a few times over the past several years, Romane says, but the Lacamas board wanted to wait until the CEOs were closer to retirement. An increasing regulatory burden on both credit unions also added to the urgency, Michaelis says.

“When Roger announced his retirement, I advised our board’s executive committee, and they decided to reach out to iQ’s board,” Romane says. “Over the course of the past two or three months, the boards have held several meetings to explore mutual membership benefits.”

Romane plans to retire in July after 38 years in the credit union movement; Michaelis will step down at the end of the year after 28 years at iQ. By joining forces now, they can ensure a seamless transition and allow a combined new board to conduct a search for a CEO to lead the larger institution, Romane and Michaelis say.

The consolidation is now in the due-diligence phase leading to board approval, Romane says. “We anticipate that voting by members will take place in mid-May,” she says. A new CEO should be in place by the end of the year.

A consolidation team consisting of employees from both credit unions will oversee the transition process, which will include reviewing the integration and expansion of services and exploring naming strategies and branding options. The credit unions currently have 240 employees; no jobs are expected to be lost as a result of the consolidation.

Michaelis says the merger is a natural fit for both institutions, thanks to a shared member-centric culture.

“As two of the oldest credit unions in the area, we are united by a common vision to provide competitive, locally-based financial products and services to enrich the lives of members in our own community,” Michaelis says. “This plan to bring our two institutions together reinforces that commitment.”

Consolidation, Romane says, will improve the credit union’s ability to thrive in a highly-competitive financial services marketplace.

“Our members have been asking for branches in downtown Vancouver, Salmon Creek and Battle Ground,” Romane says. “We’re pleased that we’re able to respond to their needs, plus offer even more in the way of enhanced service, improved efficiency and competitive products.“

Founded in 1936, Lacamas was the first credit union established in Southwest Washington. It currently serves 17,000 members in Clark and Skamania counties, with six locations and assets of more than $195 million. iQ was incorporated in 1940; it currently has nine locations in Southwest Washington, with 50,000 members and more than $500 million in assets.

 

Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

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