Money & Business

West Coast Credit Union Groups See Strength in Numbers

By / Aug 16, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

After collaborating on a networking event, credit union associations in the Pacific Northwest realized there was growth opportunity in teaming up with their counterparts in Idaho. So far, so good.

A pair of West Coast-based credit union organizations have decided that two are better than one.

The Northwest Credit Union Association and the Idaho Credit Union League (ICUL) recently inked a three-year agreement to cohost an annual convention while simultaneously holding membership meetings—though in different locations. It’s an extension of the industry’s collaborative nature, said Lynn Heider, vice president of communications for NWCUA.

After coming together for a successful networking effort last year, the two groups opted to get cozier. “I think that we in the Northwest have a lot of great content, we have a lot to offer,” said Heider, whose organization represents about 150 credit unions in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. “Idaho has a lot of credit union growth happening right now. I think the professionals there are interested in sharing that with us now. Sharing makes a lot of sense.”

After the networking event, the president of ICUL and the CEO of NWCUA began exploring how to forge more significant ties. The MAXX Convention, to be held in Spokane, Washington, in October 2017, will mark their first major joint venture. Several credit unions in that city have offices in Idaho, Heider said.

Membership meetings will be held on a different date. Heider described them as more procedural, focusing on financials, board elections, and other business. It makes sense to keep them separate, she said.

The cooperative MAXX Convention is a trial run for the two groups. Leadership from both associations discussed the necessary changes before writing up the agreement to cooperate on a joint event.

“It’s obviously best practice to get your board to provide input for anything like this,” Heider said.

“Collaboration is the cornerstone of the credit union movement,” said Kathy Thomson, president and CEO of ICUL, in a statement. “This partnership ensures MAXX Convention attendees can expect best-in-class content, powerful speakers, a preeminent Strategic Link Tradeshow, networking, a celebration of traditions, and experience opportunities for the future.”

Heider sees the collaboration as an opportunity for both groups to expand membership and raise revenue. If the agreement works well, they will consider extending it beyond three years.

“Let’s take this first step and see how it goes,” she said.

Derrick Perkins

Derrick Perkins is an associate editor at Associations Now. In his career as a reporter, editor, and photographer, he has covered communities in New England and Virginia as well as the Defense Department. More »

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