The Potential to Create the Finest Region-Wide Credit Union Movement Collaboration Possible

Since credit unions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington combined forces to create the Northwest Credit Union Association, the regional Credit Union Movement has modeled collaboration and amplified a stronger voice at the state and federal levels. This resulted in advocacy and regulatory policy advancements, strategic business partnerships, enhanced opportunities for professional development, and increased public awareness, and that ultimately continues to help credit unions provide world-class service to their 8.1 million members.

An opportunity to propel the Movement even more powerfully into the future is possible.

Mountain West Credit Union Association CEO Scott Earl has announced plans to retire on June 30, 2022. With Earl’s pending retirement, a Succession Committee was convened by Todd Marksberry, MWCUA Board Chair and President and CEO of Canvas Credit Union in Lone Tree, Colorado. The diverse and tenured group of leaders of MWCUA member credit unions explored all options while focusing on the MWCUA board’s desire to amplify advocacy, education, and community impact on behalf of credit unions in the states the association represents — Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming.

“As a committee, while many choices were possible, we aligned quickly around a choice that would answer the question of accelerating the pace of change,” said Mike Williams, Succession Committee Chair and President and CEO of Colorado Credit Union, based in Littleton. “Credit unions need advocacy today and we believe that the exploration of a merger with NWCUA gives us a path to swift and exponential impact. People need credit unions, and we must position ourselves to serve even more people through powerful advocacy.”

Early discussions among the two associations pointed to the strengths of both organizations and the strong possibilities of leveraging the influence of the combined credit unions’ voices by maintaining a laser-sharp focus on advocacy, NWCUA and MWCUA leadership said.

“Exploring an opportunity to combine these two great organizations is a terrific next step that could enable credit unions to advance the Credit Union Movement in new and exciting ways,” Earl said.

The boards of both organizations signed a letter of intent on Jan. 20, and due diligence began. Both organizations are mutually analyzing the benefits, value propositions, and advantages of combining the organizations.

If the comprehensive due diligence reveals a merger would be beneficial to member credit unions, the boards of both associations would encourage a positive vote from membership this spring, and the effective date would become official on or before June 30, 2022. NWCUA President and CEO Troy Stang would serve as President and CEO of the newly established association, which would represent 305 credit unions in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.

“Credit unions in the Northwest and Mountain West regions are committed to proactive and relentless advocacy in an ever-evolving, complex financial services marketplace,” said Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO. “When credit unions unite their voices, they can better ensure relevant services and continued value are available to all consumers. By leveraging the strength of both Associations, member credit unions can expect a more influential voice in federal advocacy, and impactful results in hyper-local state legislative advocacy.”

The scope of a merger between NWCUA and MWCUA would include the combinations of both trade associations’ legacy service corporations and foundations.

“With a focus on bringing the best possible operating environment through advocacy, community impact, strategic business partnerships, education and training, and public awareness, the credit unions in these six states would realize the maximum influence of their collective voice,” said Jeff Adams, NWCUA Board Chair and President and CEO of Spokane Valley, Washington-based Horizon Credit Union.

The partnership would honor the finest and proven traditions of the two organizations and their member credit unions, creating “the credit union association of the future,” according to Marksberry.

“This powerful collaboration would create a robust environment of strategic thinking and bright minds, and ultimately would empower this community of credit unions to enhance value and impact for their 12.3 million consumer members across the region,” Marksberry said. “Given the synergies we already have seen, the boards are encouraged to enter the due diligence process.”

In the coming weeks, both organizations will schedule a series of virtual and in-person Town Hall meetings and will share insight from Board members and member credit unions.

Editor’s note: Anthem will continue to provide updated information throughout the due diligence process.

Posted in Media & Public Awareness, NWCUA.