Oregon CUs Call Off Merger Due To Issues Of Alignment

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Portland Teachers Credit Union and Eugene-based Oregon Community Credit Union have called off plans for what would have been one of the largest-ever credit union mergers.

The decision came one month after both credit unions issued a joint statement saying the merger, originally announced on Nov. 10, 2003, was proceeding as planned.

Now, the deal has been scuttled due to "issues of alignment" between the $1.6-billion Portland Teachers, which was seeking a toehold in the center of the state and the field of membership powers of its community-chartered partner, and the nearly $700-million Oregon Community CU, which felt it simply needed to be larger to compete.

Mary Jane Campbell, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Portland Teachers CU, told The Credit Union Journal the deal was scuttled by several conflicts.

"It would have been a large merger, and it raised a number of complex issues. It was not one particular thing that caused the two sides to call it off," she said. "When you start looking at issues of alignment, you look at everything. You see how one thing affects another, including operational systems. And while we both are credit unions, we are two very different organizations."

Cliff Dias, Portland Teachers Credit Union's president/CEO, said in a prepared statement: "We realized we could not align and address all [issues] and ensure serving the best interests of the memberships of both credit unions."

Gordon Hoerauf, president and CEO of Oregon Community Credit Union, said in a prepared statement: "We simply, at this time, were unable to address the issues that were outstanding in order to proceed with the merger."

Both credit unions said it is possible they could resume merger discussions at some point in the future.

PTCU's Campbell said the experience taught valuable lessons.

"With any undertaking like this, it is important to do due diligence," she said. "Credit unions should anticipate the process will take a lot more time that they might expect. We learned a lot in the process. Any time you examine your organization and evaluate the way you do business, it is a learning opportunity."

The decision follows another just one week earlier by the Oregon Credit Union Association and the Washington Credit Union League that they will not pursue a merger.

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