Merger with Old West

Why Merge?

The Board does not take the prospect of a merger lightly. The heart of the credit union movement requires an accountable, transparent and democratic member process.

The hard fact is that the regulatory, economic, and competitive environment has never been more hostile to small credit unions. A search of the NCUA database shows that there are nearly 200 credit unions in Oregon that are simply no longer in existence. Of the over 250 credit unions that once operated in Oregon, only 61 remain. This same trend holds true of credit unions nationwide.

Tens of thousands of pages of new regulations have created an almost unsurmountable burden. Competitive pressures have never been greater, and our local communities have experienced some of the toughest economic challenges in our history.

Your board considered several options and concluded a merger could be successful only if the right merger partner could be had. Too large of a cred it union and our local members' voice would be lost to a much larger institution that might have policies and a culture that didn't match ours. Too small of a merger partner and we would likely be in the same circumstances a few years from now.

Old West met the requirements of the board - A local credit union with the resources to weather the turbulent times we are in. Their charter area already encompasses ours, and they have made the commitment to Union and Wallowa counties very clear. Old West offers products and services that we currently do not. Most importantly we will continue to be a part of a local financial cooperative and two of our board members will continue with the Old West board. Each one of our current employees will be a part of the new organization; those same faces you know and trust will be part of the Old West family.

Additionally, Old West plans on an almost immediate expansion of services, with the addition of several employees in La Grande offering commercial and ag loans, mobile banking and more. If you have a current Term Share account with Union Wallowa Baker, you will immediately qualify for Old West's “loyalty" dividend bump. You will no longer pay a $5.00 monthly charge for your checking account and Old West currently offers one of the highest dividend rates available in the country for share draft accounts. These examples are just a few of the benefits Union Wallowa Baker members can realize.

Ken Olson, CEO and President of Old West, will be at our credit union every Thursday from 3pm to 6pm from now until the merger vote on February 23. These "mini town hall" meetings will give you an opportunity to meet with Ken and members of the Old West team and address any questions or concerns that you have. Please take advantage of this time, or feel free to call him at 541-575 -0264, ext. 175. UWB Manager Mike Howton is available as well to answer questions or address any concern s you might have: 541-963-3053.

Thank you for your support and participation in your credit union!
Carol Kroll, Board Chair

3 Depot, La Grande, OR 97850 | PO Box 3010 La Grande. OR 97850 | Phone: 541.963.3053 | Email:

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