To be proactive about mergers, just pull up a chair

A lot of extra chairs had to be brought into the room during a breakout session at CUES’ Directors Conference in December. Attendees filled the seats at every table, took places along the wall, and even spilled out into the hallway.

What was the topic? Mergers and acquisitions for credit unions.

Our anecdotal experience at Directors Conference directly reflects what current data shows—that mergers are a growing reality for our members.

Recent survey results from “What’s Going On in 2016” by CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Ariz., shows that four in 10 credit union CEOs cited mergers as a 2016 growth priority, a sharp increase from Cornerstone’s previous studies and the highest percentage seen in the study’s five-year history. (Read Cornerstone’s recent CUES Skybox blog post about credit union-community bank mergers.)

Indeed, mergers and acquisitions are a key growth strategy for credit unions of all sizes in a variety of markets and with a variety of membership profiles. These transactions provide a way for credit unions to build their market presence, scale to meet the needs of members, carry the significant regulatory burden on institutions of all sizes, and successfully compete in the financial services marketplace.

Considering all this, CUES hasn’t been surprised to hear our members say that being proactive about mergers is important. We’ve responded in a big way, and are set to debut our new Mergers & Acquisitions Institute in June at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Ranked the fourth best business school in the nation in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report, the Booth School offers a world-class, interdisciplinary program about mergers and acquisitions. Recognizing CUES’ experience in creating world-class education opportunities with outstanding universities, Booth has been a full partner in developing the new institute.

Booth School of Business Adjunct Associate Professor of Strategic Management Stephen Morrissette—who will be lead faculty—is immersing himself in preparing to lead this custom program for credit unions.

In addition to bringing his extensive background in corporate M&A to the table, Morrissette has done dozens of interviews with credit union industry leaders. He says he’s hearing that CUs are definitely thinking about growth strategically and proactively. To do so, they are asking such key questions as “How do we need to grow?” “What is the right size for our credit union?” and “What kind of services do members want?”

Morrissette says some credit unions may need coaching to consider mergers in a positive light. Traditionally, merging has been seen as a sign of failure or giving up. He also finds that with credit union mergers, human factors (such as “losing” a CU’s identity in the transaction) are primary.

Where is your credit union in its discussions about what size it needs to be to best serve members? Would growth help or hinder your ability to reach your vision? No matter where you are on the spectrum, pull up a chair to the table and learn more about mergers. CUES is here to help you.

John Pembroke

John Pembroke

John Pembroke is president/CEO of CUES. Since joining CUES in May 2013 as chief operating officer, he has helped launch a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. ... Web: www.cues.org Details

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