Credit unions plan local merger

Summerland Credit Union CEO Margot Sweeny and First Pacific Credit Union managing director Paul Kelly.

Come April, the combined membership of Summerland Credit Union and First Pacific Credit Union will be asked to decide whether or not the two organisations should merge.

The plan to amalgamate the two credit unions was announced this week by Summerland Credit Union CEO Margot Sweeny, who says the merger would provide positive benefits for management, staff and the 36,000 plus members of the two organisations.

Ms Sweeny said the idea came about after she recently attended a credit union conference with First Pacific Credit Union managing director, Paul Kelly. There, the two head honchos discovered they could save money on meeting new legislative requirements by joining forces.

The merger will reduce our combined overheads, and therefore keep fees lower for members and also allow us to improve our products and services, Ms Sweeny said. With combined assets of more than $400 million we will be more competitive in the marketplace, and the merger will also create greater career opportunities for our respective staff.

If the merger is approved the two businesses would trade under the Summerland Credit Union name, although the wealth management arm of First Pacific First Pacific Financial Solutions would retain its title.

Ms Sweeny said all First Pacific branches would be re-branded with Summerland Credit Union, giving members more outlets across the region, and promotional material would feature the theme Growing with the region.

It would give us a far-reaching North Coast footprint from Tweed Heads down to Grafton and out to Nimbin, Casino and Kyogle, Ms Sweeny said.

At the conference Ms Sweeny also discovered that the Page electorate has the highest number of credit union members per capita in Australia now greater than the traditional front runner, South Australia.

We have so much loyalty and the best way to serve that is to join together and become a stronger, larger organisation, Ms Sweeny said. The proposed merger will be a win-win for both organisations.

If members agree to the merger it will take effect on May 31 this year.

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