MADISON, Wis. (6/18/09)--The role of succession planning and leadership development in successful credit union mergers is discussed in the first of two new CUNA Councils white papers. “Converging Executive Teams: The Role of Leadership Development and Succession Planning in Successful Credit Union Mergers” by the CUNA Councils offers a glimpse into credit union mergers, and approaches for bringing together a leadership team, depending on the scope and circumstances of the merger. Current merger trends and the reasoning behind proposed consolidations, along with the potential impact of a lack of succession planning, are addressed. The paper concludes with three credit union merger case studies detailing how they selected a chief executive, brought together an executive team, and created a leadership development program to ensure the merger strengthened the continuing organization and member ties. A second new white paper examines strategies for customizing collections to fit a credit union’s membership and market. “Collections: Not a Cookie-Cutter Operation” by the CUNA Lending Council examines program structure, industry trends, and working with collections agencies. It also looks at collections philosophies related to helping members versus managing numbers. Dana Rawlings, lending council executive committee member and senior vice president and chief operations office for Smart Financial CU in Houston, said that collections objectives should echo credit unions’ “People Helping People” philosophy. “So many credit unions focus on how many calls you make, and on keeping [delinquency and charge off rates] down,” Rawlings said in the paper. “But if you help members, the numbers will take care of themselves. And those members will send others to your credit union.” For more information, use the links.