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Two Southern California credit unions have leveraged their difference in size difference in a unique collaboration that supports sustainability and engages the membership of both organizations.

With both credit unions’ memberships geographically overlapping each other in and around the City of Commerce just five miles from downtown Los Angeles, a plan to gain efficiencies and cost-savings through an uncommon relationship was a logical choice, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues reported (CU Weekly Nov. 15)

Certified FCU, a division of Vons CU, welcomed the much-smaller Printing Industries CU in August to share its branch location–a discussion six years in the making that will save Printing Industries roughly $80,000 annually since it was able to close its former Commerce, Calif. branch. Vons had already planned to downsize Certified’s large unneeded branch space after that credit union merged into Vons in 2010. It was an office Printing Industries previously borrowed time to time, a circumstance that serviced as a starting point for the conversation.

“Many in our industry often assume talks between a small and larger credit union are merger-related, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Susan Conjurski, CEO of Printing Industries. “Both credit unions’ signage is on the windows, doors and ATMs, and both will be represented on the building’s exterior. You’re probably going to see more of these types of partnerships as smaller credit unions look for ways to increase scale, savings, and product offerings through bringing together back-office resources.”

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