Consolidation has been a growing trend in the credit union community for many years due to a variety of factors. Indeed, numerous CUs have “disappeared” from the landscape — either through mergers (forced and otherwise) or liquidation — every year for at least the past 15 years.

It usually is the smaller institutions, that is those with less than $100 million in assets, that get lost in the deal or “vanish.”

There were 235 completed mergers among federally-insured credit unions in the last calendar year, down from 257 in 2014 and 254 in 2013, according to the National Credit Union Administration.

The regulator noted that since 2010, there have been 1,458 mergers, or an average of 243 per year. According to NCUA, “most” of these mergers involved credit unions with less than $100 million in assets. “The bottom line is that in any given year the vast majority of the decline in credit unions is related to voluntary mergers,” Schenk said.

Fairbanks noted that NCUA “does a lot, through our supervision process and OSCUI’s [NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives] consulting programs, to help smaller credit unions remain viable whenever possible.” The regulator only gets directly involved with a merger process when a CU is in a “troubled condition,” he added. For more information read CU Journal.