Duluth, Ga. (8/30/11)--The merger between Southwest Bridge Corporate and Georgia Corporate received approval from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board of Directors. The board addressed the corporates’ merger request during a closed meeting Monday afternoon. NCUA confirmed to News Now that the merger had been approved. “This approval is the culmination of many months of hard work, and we could not be more pleased,” said Lin Hodges, chairman of Georgia Corporate and president/CEO of Associated CU, Norcross, Ga. “The NCUA set a very high standard for ensuring that the merger would result in a successful corporate--one that is able to achieve regulatory capital and retained earnings targets as well as other new requirements designed to reduce risk to the credit union system,” said Hodges, who is also slated to take the helm as chairman of the resulting Catalyst Corporate on Sept. 6th. “I continue to believe that this partnership with Georgia Corporate, along with the key changes to the business model outlined in the plan, is the best possible way to serve the interests of member credit unions,” said Kerry Parker, chairman of the Executive Committee for Southwest Bridge Corporate’s Member Advisory Council and president/CEO of A+ FCU, Austin, Texas. The Member Advisory Council approved the merger strategy late last year. “The Catalyst model represents a combination of traditional and progressive thinking,” said Greg Moore, president/CEO of Georgia Corporate. “The support of our members, and now the approval of the NCUA Board, demonstrate a growing awareness that the cooperative corporate model continues to be extremely valuable, but that in the future it must be highly efficient and able to achieve success with less balance-sheet risk.” The strong financial performance of Southwest Bridge Corporate since its chartering in late 2010 shows the importance, and viability, of a highly efficient model, he added. Obtaining the NCUA’s approval is one of three key steps that the merging corporates seek to accomplish this week. The others include a vote on the merger in a special meeting today by the Southwest Bridge Corporate membership, and final approval from the Georgia Corporate Board, set for Wednesday. “We are looking forward to a very successful consolidation over the holiday weekend,” said Moore. “We will open our doors as Catalyst Corporate on Sept. 6th and be ready to provide seamless, world-class service to our members on day one.” Together Southwest Bridge Corporate and Georgia Corporate have raised $92.7 million in perpetual contributed capital from 875 members. “While this is more than sufficient to launch and sustain the Catalyst Corporate business plan, further membership growth is expected,” said Hodges.