Geographic coverage: Does your strategy call for remaining within a specific geographic or municipal area, such as the City of Utopia? Must merger partners serve a territory that is contiguous to your existing area, for example, or are you interested in partners who are based in another neighborhood, another region or even another state as a way to diversify your membership to reduce the impact of economic shifts? Should proposed merger partners already have a branch in place that would “anchor” your expansion to a new geographic territory?
Branch footprint: Is a lack of branches hampering your ability to grow in specific neighborhoods with high potential for growth? Does the merging credit union offer a branch footprint that will help you reach appealing areas?
Leadership talent: Does your succession plan reveal the need to fill executive positions in the near future, starting with the CEO? Does the potential merger partner possess talented leaders who can help the credit union continue to thrive in the future? In a tight labor market or at a credit union focused on cross-sales, this issue might extend beyond the executive branch to other areas of the credit union as well.
Financials: What is your level of financial strength? Do you have plenty of capital? How does this impact your ability to select merger partners? Can you afford to work with a credit union with potential loan losses, for example, as long as they meet other goals?
Operations: How do you approach operations issues such as staffing levels, using electronic tools at the front line, and cross-selling products? How will you introduce these concepts to your merger partners as you welcome their members and incorporate their branches into your operations?
The NCUA’s final field-of-membership rule was published Wednesday, making it effective Feb. 6. The rule, finalized by the NCUA board in October, facilitates consumer access to credit unions and provides credit unions with more flexibility.