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CU System
New Wis Regulator To Monitor Technology, Consolidation
MADISON, Wis. (4/30/13)--Wisconsin's soon-to-be state credit union regulator says she will monitor two key developments in credit unions--evolving technology and the trend for smaller credit unions to consolidate.

Kim Santos will become director of Wisconsin's Office of Credit Unions in June, when Ginger Larson retires after 17 years with the office, nine of them as director.

By evolving technology, Santos said she means the types of technologies credit unions offer their members--such as online banking, apps, bill payment and more--not the tools that credit unions themselves use, she told the  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  (April 27). Examiners must keep up with these developments as they evaluate a credit union's safety and soundness.

Santos also noted the nationwide trend toward consolidating, especially among smaller credit unions.   Fewer credit unions exist in Wisconsin--last year 15 credit unions were absorbed in mergers. However, their membership grew 1.7% to 2.26 million members in 2012 from 2.225 million members in 2011, she said.

Some smaller credit unions are struggling financially, some have succession issues and have a harder time offering technology. Not all of last year's mergers were due to profitability issues. Some merged because a CEO retired and the board decided it couldn't offer the services members wanted without merging, she told the publication.

Consolidations will continue, she said, added she expects another dozen mergers in Wisconsin y June. Even as the number of credit unions decrease, Santos expects membership and assets to continue rising. On the whole, Wisconsin credit unions are "very strong," she said.

Santos has served as deputy director and chief examiner at the Office of Credit Unions. For the full article, use the link.
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