Our proposed merger with Australian Central passed an important milestone this week when it received approval to proceed to the member vote from regulatory bodies including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
This was the first major milestone in the merger process and brings us closer to bringing the two organisations together.
It’s now in the hands of you, our members - and that’s what being a mutual, or member-owned, organisation is all about.
I’m not going to talk too much about the many benefits for members that will result from this merger, because there are many. Some of them are spelled out in full in the Member Information Document that you will receive in early November. I’ll simply say that it will give us the size and strength to be able to provide a genuine, member-owned alternative to the major banks. More specifically, the merger will enable us to provide an improved range of products and services, and greater access to your money through a wider network of branches and ATMs.
In previous blog entries, some members have expressed concern that bigger is not always better. I can assure you that we are not looking to grow for growth’s sake, but it will allow us to keep offering you competitive products and rates. It can be harder for smaller financial institutions to achieve the same economies and price competitiveness as bigger banks, but as a larger organisation we will be much better positioned to achieve this.
I can guarantee you, if the merger does proceed and we do grow in size, we won’t move away from our member focus and commitment to providing great service.
In the next week, you’ll receive in the mail a Member Information Document which will spell out all the important details on what the merger would mean for you. I encourage you to read it carefully.
We’re also holding a range of information sessions for members over the coming weeks. These will provide an opportunity for you to come along and hear information on the merger, but also ask any questions you may have. Full details on the member meetings can be found here.
The vote for the proposed merger will take place at our Annual General Meeting to be held at 12.30pm on Friday, 27 November at The Stamford Plaza, 150 North Terrace, Adelaide. Or, you can complete and return the proxy form you receive in the mail no later than 48 hours prior to the commencement of the Annual General Meeting. Only members over the age of 18 are eligible to vote.
If you have any general comments/questions, feel free to put something down here. But if you have more detailed or specific questions, I encourage you to go along to a merger information session in your area, phone 13 11 82 or email email@example.com as you’ll get a much more detailed response than I can give. We’ve also developed some Frequently Asked Questions where you may be able to find the answer you are looking for.