BIRMINGHAM, Ala., and TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/6/09)--The memberships of the Florida Credit Union League (FCUL) and the Alabama Credit Union League (ACUL) voted overwhelmingly this week to combine the leagues into one entity, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU). Florida members voted Wednesday and Alabama members on Thursday to combine into a single entity representing 332 credit unions with combined total assets of $55 billion. "This has indeed been a historic day as our credit unions took positive action towards securing the future of our movement in these two states," said Steve Swofford, ACUL chairman. "It is now time for us to put our shoulders to the wheel and ensure a smooth transition into the new joint league." "Credit unions from both states will benefit in this consolidation," said Rich Helber, FCUL chairman. "Coming together as the League of Southeastern Credit Unions will create a stronger, more strategic position for all of our credit unions in numerous areas." The credit unions approved the proposal by a vote that exceeded the required two-thirds majority of members present at each meeting. Each state's previous board chairman will become a member of the new combined board and will select seven board members to serve on the LSCU board. The 16-member board will then elect a chairman from amongst them. Also, the new board will begin an immediate search for the LSCU's new CEO. "With my and [ACUL President/CEO] Gary Wolter's upcoming retirement, we determined this was the perfect opportunity to create a strong, stragically positioned entity which will help our credit unions across both states," said Guy M. Hood, FCUL president/ CEO. "With the continuing economic uncertainties, financial pressures and regulatory challenges, it is more important than ever that we help our credit unions build the strongest framework possible for their futures." Previously, the two leagues' boards voted Dec. 8 and 9 to propose a consolidation of the two groups. "The decision today by Alabama's credit unions recognizes that change dictates new ways to represent credit unions in today's environment," said Wolter. " I applaud the forward-thinking leadership in Alabama and Florida for taking this bold step and I truly believe the LSCU will become a model for other leagues to consider," he added.