Arkansas Credit Unions Join Texas League

The credit union industry in Arkansas has always been relatively small — under $2.5 billion in assets all told — but collectively the state has joined the biggest alliance of credit unions in the country.

In July, the venerable Arkansas Credit Union League became the Arkansas Credit Union Association and joined the Cornerstone Credit Union League of Dallas, along with credit union associations from Texas and Oklahoma.

Get the List: Click here to get the full list of the largest credit unions in Arkansas in PDF or spreadsheet format.

Arkansas’ 62 credit union charters (soon to be 61) are among the 643 credit unions that make up Cornerstone, according to Reta Kahley, president of the Arkansas Credit Union Association.

“It provides them access to a lot more products and services that come with a large league,” Kahley said. That includes specialized services for small credit union and asset liability management services for CUs of all sizes.

“And it gives us a stronger lobbying effort both at the state level and the federal level,” Kahley said, noting that Texas still has quite a few state-chartered credit unions, something Arkansas hasn’t had in more than a decade.

Arkansas was able to contribute three executives to each of Cornerstone’s three boards of directors. Appointed to the board of the Cornerstone Credit Union League were Dwayne L. Ashcraft of Arkansas Superior Federal Credit Union in Warren, Allen Brown of Mil-Way FCU in Texarkana and Windy Campbell of Electric Cooperatives FCU of Little Rock.

Arkansas appointees to the Cornerstone Foundation board are E.B. “Buddy” Hancock of Arkansas Teachers FCU and George T. Bujarski of VA Hospital FCU, both in Little Rock, and Suzie Spivey of River Town FCU in Fort Smith.

Arkansas members on the board of Cornerstone’s for-profit subsidiary, the Credit Union Resource Board, are Greg James of Pine Bluff Cotton Belt FCU, Tammy M. Passafiume of River Valley Community FCU in Camden, and Dee Edie of Diamond Lakes FCU in Hot Springs.

Impending Merger

Speaking of Diamond Lakes, it will be acquiring Village Peoples FCU in Hot Springs Village effective Friday. It’s the first consolidation of credit unions in the state in a couple of years, after a decade of steady attrition.

Approved by members in June, the transaction will close the doors of the single office of Village Peoples at 111 Los Lagos Drive on Thursday. Former Village Peoples members will then be served by a new branch of Diamond Lakes FCU — its fourth — at 4585 N. Highway 7, Suite 11.

Diamond Lakes had assets of $60.4 million at the end of June. It was the 10th largest in the state at the end of 2012.

Village Peoples has assets of just under $1.5 million.

Hope Credit Union Honored With McNulty Prize

Hope Credit Union, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., but with branches in College Station and West Memphis, and its CEO, Bill Bynum, were named last week as recipients of the sixth annual John P. McNulty Prize by the Aspen Institute and the McNulty Foundation.

The $100,000 prize “recognizes the spirit of innovation and excellence of private-sector leaders who use entrepreneurship to address important global social issues.”

Since 2008, Hope Credit Union has expanded from three branches to 15 in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas, has increased its membership from 9,000 to 28,000 and has made more than 7,200 consumer, mortgage and small business loans totaling more than $260 million. It has $169 million in assets.

First-Ever Payroll Companies List

This week, Arkansas Business debuts its first list of payroll companies.

It’s a short list as only those companies that would disclose their number of Arkansas business clients were included in the ranking. CPA firms that provide payroll services only as an adjunct to other accounting services were excluded.

Payroll companies that would like to be included in future lists are invited to contact Roxanne Jones at