RALEIGH, N.C.-When the combined Carolinas CU League opens its doors next year, many of the efficiencies that normally arise when leagues combine will already be in place.

John Radebaugh, president and CEO of the North Carolina league, is set to lead the new entity when it opens its doors on Jan. 1. He explained that the North and South Carolina leagues have been collaborating for several years, including forming an LLC to take care of accounting and HR, run the leagues' combined foundation, shared branching and more. "So that saved all of our subsidiaries a pretty significant amount of money," he said.

Radebaugh said the consolidation was prompted by the forthcoming retirement of South Carolina league president Steve Fowler and the year-long process that involved determining whether to consolidate, hire a new CEO or consider some other strategy.

"We currently have 20 staff in North Carolina, and in South Carolina they have 10, so we feel like we're fairly lean as it is. We may restructure somebody's job, but we have a lot of talented folks, so we're not going to lay anybody off."

CCUL is still working to determine the logistics of any restructuring or job shifts, and Radebaugh said he expects that will be finalized by early December.

Other Savings

With efficiencies already in place for accounting and HR, Radebaugh said the CCUL expects to still gain some efficiencies, including because only one audit will be needed, "which is a significant savings." The league is looking at outsourcing its IT needs, which would also help lower costs. The new league also expects to save money by eliminating Fowler's salary and associated travel costs, "so there will be some efficiencies when it's all said and done, but we might not see as much as some of the other leagues (that have consolidated) because we've already been collaborating."

The new league has also crafted a new set of bylaws with a new governance structure. Each state will have four directors from specific asset categories, along with three at-large members who can come from either state. The at-large members will be elected at the CCUL annual meeting in May, while the other board members are already in place. Radebaugh said all board members will serve a rotating three-year term, with one-third of the board turning over annually.

The new league will have locations in both Raleigh and in a suburb of Columbia, S.C., with Radebaugh alternating between offices. Radebaugh said that the South Carolina league has had its facility on the market for quite a while with the intent to sell it, and with the commercial real estate market showing new signs of life, once that building is sold, "our game plan is to move closer to downtown, closer to where the legislative offices are in the capital, so there could be some savings there."

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