Well it’s good to be back at work after a nice holiday. And there’s certainly been a lot happening since I left.
Before I forget, I must thank Tony Innes and Tony Hampton for keeping my chair warm while I was away. It’s been a busy time for Savings & Loans and they’ve done a fantastic job.
The biggest announcement we’ve made is our proposed merger with Austral Credit Union. This project has been underway for many months now, and announcing it to our members and the general public is just one step on the journey.
It looks like we’re not the only ones who have been talking about mergers. I’m sure anyone from Australia would be aware of the proposed merger between Westpac and St George.
I’ll let others speculate and comment on that, but Savings & Loans’ proposed merger with Austral is something I’m very excited about. Bringing the two credit unions together will really cement our position as Australia’s second-largest credit union and have some great benefits for current members of both Austral and Savings & Loans.
As well as increasing the number of branches and ATMs members have access to, being a larger organisation has a lot of benefits in terms of infrastructure and administrative costs. For example, rather than maintaining two different computer systems, everything will be brought under one banner.
While the merged credit union will still be known as Savings & Loans, it’s very much a merger rather than a takeover, and it is anticipated that Austral members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposal in the next few months. This is what being a mutual organisation is all about – members having a direct say in how their credit union is run.
We’re also making sure that both credit unions’ staff are looked after. Savings & Loans is passionate about giving our staff the best opportunities possible, and we’ve made a formal commitment to not have any forced redundancies as a result of the merger. The current Austral head office in Melbourne will now become our Victorian office.
There is a lot of merger ‘talk’ amongst Australian credit unions at the moment. The changing nature of our industry means that being a bigger organisation often makes you much stronger. At the same time, it’s important to ensure that any organisations that merge have common values and aspirations, something that is very much the case with Savings & Loans and Austral. In fact, the Savings & Loans of today is the result of a number of mergers, including our most recent merger in 2005 with the NRMA Employees’ Credit Union.
If you have any questions about our merger with Austral that can’t be answered by the FAQs on our site then please let me know.