True Sky Credit Union and Central Oklahoma Federal Credit Union have announced an official Credit Union merge! Both Credit Union Presidents/CEOs, Tommy Smith (Central Oklahoma) and Sean Cahill (True Sky) have been planning this merger for 18 months now, being a part of this continuous period of change. So what does this merge mean for their Credit Union employees, board of directors, and most importantly, their members? In an interview with CU broadcast host, Mike Lawson, Tommy Smith and Sean Cahill have a refreshing conversation about why the two Credit Unions merged and what the benefits are. Keep reading below to find out more!
Why the Credit Unions Merged?
Credit Unions merging is a big topic within the industry right now due to the recession being heavy on people’s minds, and other unforeseen factors. Since CUs are heavily focused on community and member improvement, this merge might be worrisome to each of their members. Rest assured, that over the past 18-months, both Tommy and Sean found that the two Credit Unions had strong chemistry and seemed to be like kindred spirits. Both CEOs have made it clear that this merger is to bring together both of the CUs rather than an acquisition. In other words, it is a collaboration, not one CU taking over the other.
In this interview, Tommy talks about the multifaceted aspect of merging. For Central Oklahoma, it really came down to the affordability aspect and being able to keep up with the necessary fine-tuning tech. A lot of the new products were barely out of their reach due to cost. “Being a small CU in rural Oklahoma is challenging. Our board decided that if the opportunity came where we could merge with another CU that we choose, then we would take it… If there’s a CU we want to be like, it would be True Sky.”
For True Sky, it came down to the accessibility aspect and being able to reach more parts of the state that they wanted to see an increase in membership from. Sean speaks about Tommy’s connections in rural Oklahoma and how that aspect alone brings a lot to the table. During the interview he says, “There is no better advocate than Tommy for this area… his leadership brings a lot of good marketing aspects to True Sky.”
The first question that both CEOs asked was, “How can we ensure all employees and members are properly taken care of while aligning our individual CU goals and board of directors?” Both Tommy and Sean agree that there are a lot of things that they want to be able to do that would benefit their employees, members, and community as a whole and they are already seeing their CU cultures positively meshing together.
Credit Union Merge Benefits and Goals
Both CUs are already seeing improvements from this merge and it is due to their similar goals and understanding of what exactly this merge is. Both CEOs acknowledge that the CUs are different in what they bring to the table. Though they bring different benefits to one another, their member first attitude and shared philosophy of giving back to the community has brought an ease about the merge that typically doesn’t occur. Throughout the interview, Tommy and Sean seemed to echo each other when speaking about their CU goals and “practice what they preach” strategies.
Central Oklahoma and True Sky CUs have shared some of the same service areas such as Lincoln county, but Sean mentions that it has been difficult to expand and grow in that specific area. Since Central Oklahoma Federal CU has multiple branches where True Sky doesn’t, this merge has created the perfect opportunity for expansion. Sean speaks about the CUs expectations when serving the community and reaching all of its members. “…We have an obligation to find ways to improve members’ financial lives and the communities we live and work in.” Central Oklahoma CU also has commercial lending and FDA lending departments, allowing access that True Sky didn’t have previously which will help reach a broader potential member pool.
This merger will allow Central Oklahoma CU to have an increase of resources which True Sky has at multiple different branches. The accessibility to products and services will better help the CU serve the community and their members, expanding the reach of investments made in the community. “This partnership really reflects the philosophy of why credit unions were formed long ago, the idea of people helping people,” said Tommy. “Whether it’s a collective group of people, or a large membership, helping those who need it, is what this movement was founded on.”
Become a Member at True Sky Credit Union
With this merger, together the organizations will serve more than 55,000 members with 17 branches in Oklahoma. The merged credit unions will maintain the True Sky name and Sean Cahill will act as the President and CEO for the combined organizations. Tommy Smith will become Market President for Central Oklahoma. Sean leaves the interview with, “We do this, all while advancing the ability to better serve our existing members. When you can form a partnership and combine efforts that provide enhanced offerings and significant benefits to members, team members, and the communities we serve, it’s the right thing to do!”
To learn more about True Sky Credit Union and how to become a member, make sure to visit our website, give us a call, or stop by in person at one of our locations. Also make sure to check out the full CU Broadcast Interview.
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