Maryland, D.C. Leagues Join Hands

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In the latest consolidation efforts among credit union trade groups, the Maryland CU League and the D.C. CU League said last week they have agreed to combine.

The combination will end a six-year deal the Virginia league had to manage the D.C. league and create a regional trade association representing about 160 credit unions surrounding the nation's Capital.

"The main focus is being able to bring together credit unions in the District and credit unions in Maryland," said Theresa Mann, president of FDIC FCU and chairman of the D.C. league.

The combination reflects a declining number of credit unions represented by both leagues and the need to control costs, while continuing to offer advocacy and education to credit union executives, representatives from both organizations stressed. In Maryland, for example, there were as many as 200 credit unions in the mid-80s, while there are fewer than 120 today. The District of Columbia had almost 100 credit unions in the mid-80s and now has around 60.

"The regional approach of the new association in the D.C./Maryland area provides our credit unions the opportunity to work more closely and cooperatively over a boundary that our members regularly commute, live, work, worship and go to school across," said Mann.

The combination of the state trade associations is the latest in a decade-long move towards consolidation. Several states have combined their state leagues in one way or another. The Massachusetts league has managed both the Rhode Island and New Hampshire leagues for more than a decade. In recent years, the California CU League has taken over operations for the Nevada CU League. The Colorado league now manages the Wyoming league's operations. More recently, the South Dakota and North Dakota leagues have discussed a merger, as have the Oregon and Washington leagues.

Michael Beall, president of the Maryland league, said the combination must still be approved by member credit unions of both leagues, but he is confident they will do so during meetings in July. "We need to educate them and make them understand (the benefits of the combination). And what they understand they'll support," said Beall, who will head the newly created association.

The combined trade group would be known as the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association and would be based in the Maryland league's current offices in Columbia, Md., about halfway between Baltimore and Washington. The smaller D.C. league, which represents 62 credit unions, has been operated by the Virginia league under a management contract in offices in Alexandria, Va., a suburb of the Capital city where NCUA is headquartered.

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