7 Credit Union Merger

Seven B.C. Credit Unions Explore Forming a “Regional Amalgamation”

In this atmosphere of hyper-competition in the financial services industry, credit unions throughout North America are exploring the potential of strengthening their positions through beneficial consolidations and mergers.

In British Columbia, the potential benefits of a major consolidation have brought together seven credit unions that are collectively exploring the amalgamation of their operations to serve the needs of members and communities across the Kootenay, Columbia Valley, and Boundary Regions of British Columbia.

The seven partners that have embarked on this exploration are Columbia Valley, Creston & District, East Kootenay Community, Grand Forks, Heritage, Kootenay Savings, and Nelson & District Credit Unions. They have launched a website, Exploring Strength and Unity, to inform their members and other interested parties about their efforts.

Click Here to Download White Paper “Align Member & Executive Interests”

As described in an April 2018 press release, the project has involved more than 60 people, including a 21-person steering committee and various management and staff working groups. An amalgamation among this number of credit unions has been before taken place in Canada, the press release notes.

The credit unions range in asset size from the $138 million Creston & District Credit Union to the $1 billion-plus Kootenay Savings. As they explain in their public announcement, the credit unions’ boards of directors have undertaken this endeavor to determine if the amalgamation is the right choice for their respective organizations.

Through much of 2018, the credit unions have been working together to complete the business case for the combined credit union. Subsequent steps include submitting the finalized business case to the boards of directors at each of the seven credit unions for review and approval and then referring an application for amalgamation to the Financial Institutions Commission of BC (FICOM) for that organization’s consent. The respective members of the credit unions will ultimately make the final decision for their credit union through a membership vote. The process will require at least three of the seven partners for the amalgamation to move forward.

One of the goals of the proposed amalgamation is to give the new, unified credit union greater ability to invest in new technologies, products, services, and service delivery. As mentioned in a Frequently Asked Questions document prepared for their members, “By coming together, our seven credit unions have the opportunity to build something together that may not have been possible for us independently.”