Sep 18 2014

Credit Union 2.0: An Opportunity to Build Collaborative Partnerships


Proactive collaboration will be the ingredient of choice for credit union mergers of the future and by default, should come naturally for financial cooperatives; banks have less incentive to collaborate because of their for-profit nature.  Collaboration requires time, effort, compromise and commitment. Small to mid-size credit unions can thrive on their own, but conscientious leaders have always considered opportunities to align with larger credit unions that can help them become more efficient, expand reach, and improve service offerings.

Since 1969, there have been more than 13,000 credit union mergers and a smaller number of liquidations. Beyond mergers, interesting opportunities lie in aligning interests and developing collaborative partnerships between credit unions. In this report, Filene analyzes three Wisconsin credit unions that have decided to combine, each from a position of strength. Best Advantage, CitizensFirst, and Lakeview all determined it was in their best interest to explore Credit Union 2.0—a partnership that would be driven by extensive collaboration.

This research outlines the steps these three credit unions took toward Credit Union 2.0. To that end, this three-way collaborative merger will pave the way for other credit unions to explore similar partnerships to do right by their members, employees, and communities.

Report Number 329