Washington League, Oregon Association Sign Letter of Intent to Merge

David Bennett
Washington Credit Union League

Laura Wieking
Credit Union Association of Oregon

The Credit Union Association of Oregon’s and the Washington Credit Union League’s Boards of Directors have signed a letter of intent to merge. Pending independent votes of the two states’ memberships and their boards’ joint approval of the final business plan, the regional, northwest-focused credit union trade association will begin operations on Jan. 1, 2011. 

“The executive leadership and boards of the two organizations are aligned in common purpose, vision and desired objectives,” says Washington Credit Union League President & CEO John Annaloro. “In addition to eventual cost efficiencies, the proposal would create an organization with a strong national voice that empowers northwest credit unions to exercise more influence within the national credit union system and among third-party product and service providers.”

The two organizations have been discussing the possibilities of combining operations for more than 20 years. 

According to the Credit Union Association of Oregon’s President & CEO Troy Stang, in addition to creating greater depth of service to member credit unions, a regional model gives staff the ability to concentrate on their areas of expertise.

“The credit union movement benefits from innovation and evolution,” he says. “The proposed merger provides the opportunity to share knowledge, grow networks and collaborate in ways that help our members become more competitive in the markets they serve.”

Senior teams from both organizations together are developing the regional operations plan. With member credit union input a high priority for Stang and Annaloro, town hall meetings will be held in August to discuss that plan with credit unions across Oregon and Washington.  Joint board meetings to consider member feedback are planned for September.

“Both boards feel strongly that now is the time for a combined organization to build a sustainable association model to serve their needs into the future,” says Oregon Association Board Chairman Gene Pelham, President & CEO of Rogue FCU. “However, as democratically run associations the approval of the merger, ultimately, is in the hands of our member credit unions.”

“It’s important to also note that this proposal will not change either associations’ priorities or core value in all aspects of the credit union environment,” says Washington League Board Chairman Debie Keesee, President & CEO of Spokane Media FCU. “We will continue to provide effective leadership and advocacy for the credit union movement on a local level.”

A simultaneous, multi-state membership vote is planned for November.


The Credit Union Association of Oregon (CUAO) is a nonprofit, professional trade association representing Oregon’s state-, community-, and federally-chartered credit unions. Since 1936, CUAO has been at the forefront of credit union issues at the state, regional, and national level, and provides a voice for Oregon’s 1.5 million credit union members on issues impacting credit unions at a local level.


Now on its 76th year of service to the state’s credit union community, the Washington Credit Union League is the state trade association for the 117 financial cooperatives that serve more than 2.6 million Washingtonians. Since 1934 the League has played an important role in ensuring the health and vitality of the state’s credit unions.

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