DENVER (5/6/09)--The Credit Union Association of Colorado (CUAC) and the Credit Union Association of Wyoming (CUAW) announced Tuesday they are pursuing a formal merger and intend to create a new organization to serve credit unions in both states. A merger would build upon an already-close relationship between the two states. Since 1997, they have shared staff under a management contract with CUAC serving the day-to-day needs of the Wyoming association. It also would continue the trend toward consolidation at both the credit union and league level. A formal merger will require a majority vote from Colorado's 104 affiliated credit unions and Wyoming's 26 affiliated credit unions. No time line has been set for a vote, pending a full discussion of merger-related issues, the associations said. A six-member group of board members--three from Colorado and three from Wyoming--began meeting last year. A letter of intent assumes the creation of a formal Wyoming-Colorado Task Force to explore the matter further. "Our two states have already forged a close working relationship," said Larry Knopp, chairman of the Wyoming association and president of UniWyo FCU, Laramie. "Examining an actual merger is the next logical step to produce economies of scale and to put us in position to better serve our credit unions and prepare for future consolidations among credit unions and leagues." Doug Ferraro, chairman of the Colorado association, said, "All our members are looking for real value from their associations, whether it be advocacy, education and training, regulatory compliance or collaboration. Over the years, we've learned from each other, and a formal merger would allow us to collectively strengthen all our individual efforts." John Dill, CEO of both associations, noted the long history of working together. "The boards are looking not just to merge, but to create something bigger and stronger out of our combined efforts." Dill outlined issues that the joint task force will address, including governance, board and committee appointments, dues structure, annual meeting locations, and staff coverage.. "There is no guarantee that a formal merger will occur," said Knopp, "but in this time of consolidation of credit unions, our members want us to pursue ways to continue providing them high quality association services while looking for new ways to operate more efficiently and effectively." "There are going to be fewer credit unions and, therefore, fewer leagues," said Ferraro. "Colorado and Wyoming are fortunate to have already formed a close bond, which makes these discussions both easier and hopefully more successful."