The boards of directors for the Northwest Credit Union Association and the Idaho Credit Union League on Tuesday said they have signed a letter of intent to merge the ICUL and its service corporation, League Services, Inc., into the NWCUA and its service corporation, Strategic Link, Inc.

The respective boards on Tuesday said they signed the letter last week, and approved a merger agreement with a “do pass” recommendation to their member credit unions.

ICUL and NWCUA member credit union leaders have been invited to a series of regional town hall meetings in 2018. At those meetings, the two parties said, stakeholders will be able to share their input and discuss further details of the merger agreement. Pending approval of NWCUA and ICUL member credit unions by fall 2018, the merger would be effective Dec. 31, 2018.

The move formalizes a process that was put in motion earlier this year. Under a “strategic alliance agreement,” the NWCUA has managed the ICUL since Jan. 1.

Since that time, the two trade associations said in a statement: “State advocacy advanced in all three states, credit union employees collaborated at professional development councils and other events, and the organizations' recent jointly hosted MAXX Convention attracted nearly 1,000 attendees."

The Northwest Credit Union Association has two headquarters, in SeaTac, Wash., and Tigard, Ore., after the formerly separate leagues in Oregon and Washington merged in 2011. The Idaho Credit Union League is headquartered in Boise.

“Along this journey, the boards have shared their collective desire to ensure the next steps would formalize this three-state collaboration and continue to build on the strengths of all legacy organizations and the credit unions who support them,” said Brooke Van Vleet, NWCUA board chair and president/CEO of $220 million St. Helens Community Credit Union, St. Helens, Ore. “The boards’ end in mind remains focused on achieving the maximum long-term benefits on behalf of all member credit unions.”

“The boards and management believe this approach serves the future needs of member credit unions in all three of our Northwest states,” said Kent Oram, ICUL board chair and president/CEO of $3.3 billion Idaho Central Credit Union, Chubbuck, Idaho. “Both ICUL and NWCUA boards believe the recommended merger will increase the strength of the voice, influence, and impact of this new three-state world-class trade association. Together, we continue to advance this Northwest Credit Union Movement with the leadership our member credit unions expect.”

Merger agreement details

The merger agreement addresses distribution of ICUL equity with specific recommendations:

  • The creation of a $600,000 “Pay It Forward Idaho Member Credit Union Engagement Fund,” which returns equity to engaged Idaho credit unions over a two-year period. The fund applies to active Idaho member credit unions that have paid their respective dues no later than June 30, 2018, and continue to pay respective dues throughout the two-year period.
  • A contribution of $500,000 to the Northwest Credit Union Foundation to further advance strategic priorities in asset building, economic empowerment, and cooperative development initiatives throughout the entire Northwest region.
  • A contribution of the remaining equity (approximately $1.2 million) to the post-merged, three-state regional NWCUA organization.

The merger agreement and recommendation addresses governance by a board of directors consisting of up to 15 directors – nine currently elected directors of the NWCUA and three newly appointed directors, as chosen by and from the ICUL/LSI board of directors.

The ICUL board recommended to the membership Idaho Central CU’s Oram, Trisha Baker, president and CEO of Lewiston-based Lewis Clark Credit Union, and Dan Thurman, president/CEO of East Idaho Credit Union, Idaho Falls, be the three Idaho leaders to serve in this continuing governance role.

Troy Stang,  NWCUA
Troy Stang, president and CEO of Northwest Credit Union Association

The ICUL and NWCUA boards agreed that Troy Stang, currently NWCUA president and CEO, will continue in that role in the three-state trade organization.

“We have seen many examples this year of what happens when the strength of multiple state trade associations come together to excite a stronger voice regionally and nationally,” Stang said. “Our commitment is to empower the local advocacy and public awareness of individual credit unions on Main Street, and in their respective state capitols.”

The Northwest Credit Union Association represents 180 credit unions in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and their 6.5 million consumer members.