TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (6/20/08)--The Florida and Alabama Credit Union Leagues have entered into early discussions to explore a combination of or closer collaboration between the two leagues. The announcement Thursday was made by Florida league Chairman Rich Helber and Steve Swofford, chairman of the Alabama league. The discussions aim to bring greater level of services to both states' credit unions and to create efficiencies and greater strength. "Each league enters these discussions with an open mind about the potential resulting structure that would best serve credit unions in their states," said a press release. The discussions are linked to the retirements of the leagues' long-time league presidents Alabama's Gary Wolter and Florida's Guy Hood. With their upcoming retirements, leadership in each state believes that a great opportunity exists to build on the successes each state and deliver services and gain efficiencies through some form of combination, said the press release. Swofford and Helber stressed that the discussions are in the "very early phases" and a "thorough analysis" will be made. The leagues have a history of working together. They have retained Tom Olson, president, Directions 21 Business Group, to assist them.