NAFCU, CUNA merger prepares draw issues about equivalent representation | Credit Union Journal

Jim Nussle (left), president and president of CUNA, would lead the combined company after Dan Berger (right) revealed his strategies to step down as president and CEO of NAFCU previously this year.

While constituents of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions and the Credit Union National Association were normally helpful of the groups’ prepared merger, some are worried that the combined company might begin to prefer its biggest members. 

Under the offer revealed by NAFCU and CUNA on Tuesday, the 2 advocacy groups would form a brand-new entity called America’s Credit Unions and be led by CUNA’s president and president Jim Nussle. Members of each group are anticipated to vote on the merger this month.

Over the years, there have actually been times when the 2 nationwide trade groups disagreed on legal and regulative problems, which’s constantly a difficulty on Capitol Hill, stated Paul Gentile, president and CEO of $2.1 billion-asset Merck Employees Federal Credit Union in Rahway, New Jersey.

Gentile, who was previously president and CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association, stated it is constantly best when the market can speak to one voice.

“The key challenge will be to ensure all types and sizes of credit unions are effectively represented. … Obviously the big dues dollars come from the larger shops, but it’s vital that smaller and mid-sized credit unions are getting effective advocacy,” Gentile stated.

Gentile highlighted that the system’s strength remains in the variety of the cooperative credit union — from smaller sized organizations that might have simply one branch to big, multi-state cooperative credit union.

“We all play a unique role in the cooperative credit union system, so we all must have representation,” Gentile stated. “Clearly there will be issues larger and smaller credit unions may not agree on and that’s where the nuanced approach to good advocacy must come into play.” 

Executives of local cooperative credit union leagues state that signing up with the 2 groups would produce a more unified voice for the cooperative credit union market and enhance advocacy versus the problems that cooperative credit union deal with.

Patty Corkery, president and CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League, discussed that state and local associations have actually constantly favored a cohesive league system that integrated the existence of a nationwide entity with the viewpoints of regional organizations.

“We look forward to the opportunities for MCUL to engage, support and partner with the combined entity and are excited about the benefits America’s Credit Unions will bring to our Michigan credit union community,” Corkery stated.

Increased partnership in between the leagues and the across the country groups is a typical thread linking the feedback from numerous stakeholders, who state the modification is needed for staying up to date with the development of the market.

“There will always be critics from those who are most closely tied to each group, but if they handle the implementation well and egos are set aside among the key players with both groups those criticisms should be short lived,” stated Dennis Dollar, previous chairman of the National Credit Union Administration and partner of Dollar Associates.

NAFCU and CUNA have actually thought about a merger for several years. The conversation started in earnest in 2008 when a number of cooperative credit union signed on to a white paper promoting that the 2 groups integrate; NAFCU’s board of directors voted all versus the tip at the time, and turned down a comparable proposal a year later on.

Over the years, both groups had factions that stated “hell no we won’t go” to the concept of a merger, however much of those folks are now gone, stated Geoff Bacino, an expert and previous NCUA board member.

“And I think as new blood has come in, people realized that there’s economies of scale that you gain,” he stated. 

Credit unions likewise will not need to pay 2 sets of charges or choose in between subscription in the 2 trades, Bacino stated. Nor will they need to choose which accreditation school is much better or which PAC to add to.

Bankers are less crazy about the merger. Public policy professionals with the Independent Community Bankers of America stated the merger would push a market that currently delights in a tax-exempt status assisting sustain its purchases of smaller sized banks. 

Anne Balcer, senior executive vice president and chief of federal government relations and public law for the ICBA, worried the trouble that neighborhood banks are dealing with attempting to support neighborhoods in the very same capability as cooperative credit union however with the included problem of taxes.

“While the nation’s community banks continue to work tirelessly to sustain local communities, credit unions are violating the limits established by Congress to justify their tax exemption. … ICBA continues to encourage policymakers to bolster protections for consumers and small businesses by addressing the outdated credit union tax exemption and lax oversight by the NCUA,” Balcer stated. Other banking supporters such as the National Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association decreased to comment.

Economists and other experts will keep a close watch as the contract unfolds to see how each voice is represented.

“There’s only a handful of credit unions who act like banks, so the proof will be in the pudding for how much these organizations prioritize policies that impact the very largest credit unions versus the vast majority of credit unions who are smaller,” stated Aaron Klein, Miriam K. Carliner Chair and senior fellow in financial research studies at the Brookings Institution.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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