Branches, Employees, Accounts,
Q: How will this amalgamation affect credit union participation in the local economy?
A: We have strong ties in Austin, Gladstone, Glenella, MacGregor, Neepawa, Oakville, Portage, Plumas. We are strong supporters and participants in the development of these communities, and our levels of support and participation will continue as strongly or stronger.
Q: What about sponsorship of community groups and events?
A: Both credit unions are committed to the communities they serve, and the ties that currently exist between communities and their credit unions will continue to be extremely important to the amalgamated entity.
Democracy, Management, Branch Structure
Q: Will I still have a say in my credit union?
A: Yes, all members will continue to have a say in the new credit union. The co-operative principle of “one member, one vote” will still apply, of course, so all members have an equal say in their credit union.
Q: What will the name of the combined credit union be?
A: The boards have agreed that the combined entity would continue as Stride Credit Union, whose name is not specific to any one geographic or municipal identity.
Q: Will there be changes on the Board?
A: The board will initially consist of 11 board members; three of whom will come from Beautiful Plains’ membership.
Q: Where will the chairperson come from?
A: The chair of Stride, Winnie Pauch, will continue in that role until the end of her term, at which time our usual board election processes would begin, and any board member in good standing would be able to put their name forward.
Q: Who will be CEO?
A: Brent Budz will remain as CEO of Stride Credit Union.
The Amalgamation & Voting
Q: Why are you pursuing an amalgamation at this time?
A: We looked at three major factors — competition, compliance and technology:
Q: Why an amalgamation between these particular credit unions?
A: The fit for these two credit unions is ideal, as we share similar values in terms of how we treat our members and employees, and how we respond to the needs of our communities. We have shared visions, philosophies and goals. Our similar organizational cultures would also enable our employees to transition into the new entity in a quick manner with little service disruption.
The boards take seriously their responsibility to act in the best interests of members, and are making this proposal only after a lengthy process of investigation and due diligence.
Q: Does this amalgamation make sense financially?
A: Yes. Compliance with increasingly complex and numerous regulations and procedures is an issue for each entity. The cost of keeping up with the technology that today's members expect continues to rise. Being able to share those costs will significantly benefit us all.
Together we can share the additional costs required to provide our members with the specialized services and expertise they require.
A: Yes. The benefits of sharing resources and costs in compliance, technology and other areas will be significant. A strong, healthy credit union creates longevity and stability in the communities it serves, and the amalgamated credit union would be a strong component of growth in our communities.
Q: How will this combination benefit the members? Aren’t you actually reducing the competition?
A: The competition we face does not come from each other — it is from banks and other financial institutions, and it is not going away. This amalgamation will further enhance our opportunities to better serve our current and future membership.
Q: How will this plan reduce costs?
A: Credit unions face much higher costs today than they did even five years ago, in areas such as audit, financial reporting, and regulatory compliance. Emerging personal banking technologies related to technology and credit decisions, are also expensive, especially on our own. It is becoming increasingly difficult to balance these costs while offering competitive rates and services, and new technologies. We know from assessing other amalgamations that economies of scale will be achieved and overall cost structures will go down as we move forward.
Q: Could the same goals be achieved by sharing services among CUs?
A: No, sharing services would not achieve the same goals. Duplication would continue to exist, as each credit union requires a similar basic management and support structure in order to operate. Also, dedicating resources and people within the same organization to specific functions is more efficient and will provide significant benefit to the credit union and members.
Q: What steps did you take to reach the conclusion to propose an amalgamation?
A: As you can imagine, merging with another credit union is a major decision and we want to assure you that we haven’t rushed into this. We have been talking about this for a year; the directors and senior management of both credit unions have given the issue careful thought and detailed analysis. The due diligence process includes a comprehensive financial, legal and operational review. The results of the due diligence process showed that we had very similar business philosophies and plans for future growth. It clearly pointed to all the opportunities that an amalgamation of our credit unions would bring about.
Q: Will our credit unions be in trouble if this amalgamation is voted down by members?
A: No. Both credit unions are strong and viable and would continue to be even if members reject this proposal. However, the boards and management groups both believe this is the best path forward and that this is a positive step toward ensuring our future.