'Equality' Next Task As Md., DC Leagues OK Merger

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With the merger of the D.C. and Maryland leagues approved by both regions, one of the first challenges facing the new Maryland and D.C. Credit Union Association will be to make sure both areas are considered equal partners in the new trade association.

Credit unions in the nation's capital approved the pending merger-to be consummated Jan. 1, 2006-by a vote of 48-to-5. The mail ballot tally in D.C. came on the heels of the two-tiered voting in Maryland, where state law required a special meeting to vote on the merger (which was approved 68-to-1 out of a possible 78) as well as a separate mail-in ballot on changes to the bylaws (approved by a vote of 59-to-1) that were required in order to enter into the merger.

"From a D.C. perspective, we want to make sure it is truly a new association with both D.C. and Maryland credit unions coming together as equal partners," said Theresa Mann, chairman of the D.C. league and CEO of FDIC FCU.

Going forward, the D.C. league will be electing three directors to serve on the board of the new trade association. Maryland's 10 current board members will serve out their terms, creating a 13-member board.

The D.C. league will also be working to ensure a smooth transition from its management contract with the Virginia CU League and will create a D.C. chapter of the new trade group. Plans for a D.C. office are also in the works.

Other areas the new association will be focusing on include: serving small credit unions, facilitating fall planning sessions, and compliance and education.

The current leaders of the two separate organizations said they were pleased with the strongly favorable outcome of the votes.

"I think this is the first time 68 out of 69 credit unions agreed on one thing in two hours," laughed Rick Stoll, chairman of Maryland league, and CEO of Anne Arundel County Employees CU.

Even so, the soon-to-be merged entity isn't taking anything for granted and will be contacting those credit unions that voted against the move to make sure whatever their concerns may have been are met.

"We haven't done that yet," said Mann, "but we will. Along the way, we have spoken to almost every credit union, either by phone or by e-mail, to communicate the plan and get feedback. But now we can check in with some of these credit unions that didn't vote in favor of the merger. Any league has to worry about showing value for the dues money, and this league will be no different."

Maryland CU League President Mike Beall agreed, adding, "a lot of credit unions have been very clear they have certain expectations. We encouraged them to vote yes on the merger, but we've told them to hold our feet to the fire to make sure we're providing the services they want."

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