Two P.E.I. credit unions vote to amalgamate

Nigel Armstrong NArmstrong@TheGuardian.pe.ca
Published on August 28, 2013
Wendell Dawson, president of Metro Credit Union, guides a special meeting of members in Charlottetown Monday. The meeting voted unanimously in favour of amalgamating Stella Maris and Metro credit unions into one financial organization, effective Oct. 1.
Guardian photo by Nigel Armstrong

Metro Credit Union is joining up with Stella Maris credit union of North Rustico effective Oct. 1 in an effort to match national success and buck regional trends.

Close to 50 members of Metro gathered in Charlottetown Monday evening to vote unanimously for the amalgamation.The meeting follows a similar meeting in North Rustico last week.

There are currently about 3,000 members of Stella Maris and 12,000 of Metro, which has branches in Charlottetown and Stratford.

“There have been numerous amalgamations of credit unions nationally over the past 10 years,” says an amalgamation document given to every member earlier this month. “The proven results of these amalgamations clearly show that credit unions can be better positioned to meet competitive challenges by combining their operations.”‘

Bank customers want chip cards, flash cards and mobile banking, to name just a few of the current technologies that demand much from credit unions, the members heard.

“Credit union membership in Atlantic Canada is shrinking,” said Bernard Gillis, general manager of Metro at Monday’s meeting.

There was a regional loss of 2.6 per cent of total membership in the last 10 years, but in contrast, national figures show an 11 per cent membership increase.

The share of total banking in Atlantic Canada is also dropping, said Gillis.

A larger, amalgamated credit union will allow faster uptake of new banking technologies and better dealings with corporate clients, he said.

“We will be able to provide enhanced products and services to our membership and more effectively challenge the competition and gain back our share of market,” said Gillis.

Existing locations and staff of both credit unions will remain, and a board of directors has already been suggested, consisting of four reps from Stella Maris and eight from Metro.

The general manager of Stella Maris was going to retire, so Gillis will become the general manager of the new credit union.

The new combined Credit Union still has no name. There was a bid to call it the Island Credit Union but that is federally registered. and a credit union in British Columbia will not allow that name here on P.E.I., the meeting was told.

“The Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC) and the Registrar of Credit Unions for the Province of Prince Edward Island will support the amalgamation,” said the briefing document.