Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORe) and the Realtor Association of Northwest Chicagoland (RANWC) put the finishing touches on their merger last week, a consolidation that will result in the largest local Realtor association in Illinois and the fourth largest in the nation.
Effective Oct. 1, the 16,000-member organization, which will retain the name of MORe, will cover the west, south, and northwest suburbs of Chicago in a broad span of districts that runs from the Wisconsin to Indiana borders.
The idea for the MORe merger began in a “loose confederation” of Chicago-area Realtor associations, said MORe co-president Tom Krettler, which was composed of MORe, RANWC, the Chicago Association of Realtors and the North-Shore Barrington Association of Realtors.
In what he called a period of “various gyrations,” Krettler said that the organizations spent a 16-month period discussing possible mergers. MORe and RANWC decided upon their merger after Christine Chase, then-president of MORe, and Bob Dohn, then-president of the RANWC, discussed the idea at a February meeting of the Illinois Association of Realtors in Peoria, and they settled on its details in just a few month’s time, realizing the organizations’ geography, emphasis on membership care and suburban-focused business style coincided perfectly.
In fact, Jack Persin, also co-president of the newly-merged organization, said the details of the merger took no longer than five months to settle, and members from both organizations voted overwhelmingly (by a 95 percent margin, Krettler said) to approve the merger in July. And the organization’s first board meeting is tomorrow night.
Krettler said that the merger brings three huge benefits to the organization. One, the merger helps with annual dues and other costs associated with running such a large organization. Krettler said that with the merger, costs for members of the former RANWC will actually go down, while costs for MORe members will remain unchanged. Persin said that for MORe, maintaining the organization’s costs is a “huge benefit.”
Two, Krettler said the merger helps ease membership reduction. With how difficult the real estate market has been since 2008, Krettler said organizations have been grappling with an 8 to 10 percent annual reduction in members, and a larger, more centralized organization can help reverse that tide.
And three, the merger combines the various strengths of the organizations. Krettler said he is particularly excited about the benefits in technology, training and conferencing that all MORe members will now have access to, and Persin said that access to MORe’s central lock system will be invaluable to the organization’s Realtors.
Persin also said there is an added political benefit to the merger. Although Persin did stress that MORe will be defined not by its size, but by its unique “membership care system,” he did say that as co-president of the fourth largest Realtor organization in the U.S., he looks forward to having a stronger voice in Springfield and Washington, where he’ll argue for homeowner rights and benefits.
Krettler said the main objective for the next three months will be ensuring that the “cultures” of MORe and the RANWC – what he identified as the technological, financial and procedural facets of the organizations – “melt into one board,” so that the new, fully-realized MORe can emerge in 2012.
“We can get this done within the year,” Krettler said. “We have to.”