The trade group that represents 69 credit unions in South Carolina is moving forward with a plan to merge with its North Carolina counterpart by next year.

The board of directors of the Columbia-based S.C. Credit Union League said Monday it has voted to recommend the consolidation to its members.

The board of the N.C. Credit Union League did likewise.

The unified organization would be called the Carolinas Credit Union League.

“The votes acknowledge that the resulting league would be stronger and better positioned to serve credit unions in the Carolinas for years to come,” the two groups said in a joint statement.

The leagues, which said they have worked closely together for years, will share details of the plan with their members by June and votes are expected in September. If approved, the merger would take effect Jan. 1.

“Our board has concluded that a consolidated league creates a financially strong organization that can deliver powerful and effective advocacy in Columbia, Raleigh, and Washington, D,C., for years to come,” said Faye Crocker, chairwoman of the South Carolina group.

South Carolina credit unions have 1.4 million members and $10.6 billion in assets.

North Carolina credit unions have more than 3 million members and $37 billion in assets.

“Our board sees great promise in bringing together these two leagues,” said Maurice Smith, chairman of the North Carolina group. “Consolidation provides clear value and sets us on a path to successfully meet the changing needs of credit unions in the Carolinas.”

The leagues formed a task force to study the merger proposal in January. Each state would be represented by three officials under the combined organization.

“The consolidation of talented staff from both organizations would allow the new league to enhance its delivery of core association services: advocacy, compliance, and professional development,” the groups said in the statement.

Steve Fowler, president and chief executive officer of the S.C. Credit Union League, plans to retire at the end of this year.

John Radebaugh, CEO of the North Carolina group, would retain that title at the Carolinas Credit Union League, which would continue to have offices in Columbia and Raleigh.