Mike MercerI am excited to be writing here for the first time as the CEO for the LSCU & Affiliates. As you know, we have been working hard over the last 18 months to bring credit unions in Alabama, Florida and Georgia together under the LSCU flag. We completed the strategic consolidation at the end of August. The new LSCU board met quickly on Sept 5 to elect its officers. With the help of 115 colleagues, we are now turning our attention to providing valuable service to 339 credit unions in the new three-state footprint. LSCU credit unions manage nearly $120 billion in total assets on behalf of approximately 10 million members. Impressive starting place for sure!

LSCU exists simply to help credit unions succeed. Ten years ago, the Alabama and Florida leagues consolidated people and resources to enhance the capacity to accomplish that mission. And now, Georgia credit unions will join the LSCU & Affiliates with the same objective in mind. Under Patrick LaPine’s leadership, the LSCU had already become one of the nation’s strongest leagues. Looking ahead, it is my plan to help him take the value proposition to a new level. For a few years, I will focus heavily on the association work … Patrick will zero in on the fee-based services and the internal infrastructure. We will work together on strategic planning and have pledged to ensure that the association and business entities work in harmony to serve credit unions effectively. Neither of us could create much value without the contributions of an exceptional team. I am truly impressed by this talented group of dedicated folks.

Over the next couple of months, we will be working on operational integration, policy-level coordination and 2020 budget preparation. On the association side of the house, senior executives include Jared Ross, Cindy Connelly and Diana Houston. Jared will provide guidance for all of the state advocacy activities. Cindy will focus on federal advocacy and regulatory affairs. She will also provide leadership for our compliance support services. Diana will be primarily responsible for member engagement activities, communications strategy and the Foundation. In practice, these three and myself will collaborate on virtually all aspects of association work. Almost every issue we’ll encounter has implications for, and involvement from, each of the functional areas of responsibility.

The LSCU board is now composed of 18 credit union officials, six from each state. In addition, each state delegation on the LSCU board will consist of two large, two mid-size and two small CU representatives. The board will meet on two occasions prior to year-end. The folks that are new to the LSCU board table include the six representatives from Georgia and one from Florida. Tina Williams will continue her stewardship as Chair for the newly reconstituted LSCU board. In addition to the board, the LSCU will obtain important policy input from its committees. Of special note, the LSCU will benefit from the advice and counsel of a State Advocacy Policy Group in each state and a Federal Advocacy Policy Group for the entire region. Each of these policy groups will be composed of nine people with equal representation from the three size categories. The federal group will also consist of three from each state. So, in the near-term, getting all of these groups together and proficient will be a priority.

The LSCU ‘footprint’ is a big piece of geography! It will take me a while, but it is my priority to get around the region to visit with as many credit unions as possible over the next six months. There are 29 chapters and 339 credit unions. Getting to everyone in the early months is probably an unrealistic dream. But, I am sincerely looking forward to meeting with credit union leaders throughout the region and learning first-hand about your priorities and support needs. In the meantime, I would encourage you to reach out to me or any of the team. In my case, email or text can reach me wherever I am. Being in a position to answer a phone call is sporadic … but, no harm in trying. My email is mikem@gcua.org. I will especially be listening for ideas about how we can better serve member credit unions or how we can better project the interests of credit unions to those who can impact our cooperative lives.

We’re all in this together … thank you for including me!