The merger of Savings & Loans and Australian Central is proceeding well, with the integration project on time and on budget. From a member’s perspective, it might look like very little has happened, but we’re laying the foundations for some significant changes that will become apparent over the next 6-8 months.
Here I’ll give you a quick run-down of some of a few of the bigger tasks since the legal merger in December, and what that means for how the new credit union will operate.
Every product and service offered by our two credit unions is being reviewed so we can establish what we’ll be offering to members once the integration is complete. Savings & Loans and Australian Central worked on slightly different models and the review will help us determine how we can meet our members’ needs in the new credit union.
We’ve spoken with groups of members and non-members about Savings & Loans and Australian Central, what they thought of us as separate credit unions, what they want from the merger and how we can improve. This research will form the basis of a lot of the decisions we make in the coming months, including the way we look, how we’ll talk with our members and what products we’ll offer.
Branding and name
After a lengthy process, we’ve appointed an agency to help us develop our new name and brand. The group we’re working with, Futurebrand, has been involved with some of Australia’s best-known brands, including One HD, BHP Billiton, Yellow Pages, the Sydney Olympics and RMIT University.
Groups of members will be consulted throughout the process of developing the new name and brand, with all members having the opportunity to vote on the final name at our Annual General Meeting later in the year.
One of the biggest parts of the integration project is bringing together the different computer and banking systems currently being used by Savings & Loans and Australian Central. Changing banking systems is a massive endeavour, and we’ve spent a lot of time evaluating the various options available to us and what they mean for the way we can serve our members.
The systems we’ve chosen to use for the new credit union will combine the best elements currently used by Savings & Loans and Australian Central. Our core banking system – basically, the hub of all of the other systems – will be a new version of the system currently used by the Australian Central division.
Using the newest technology available means we’ll be able to help our members in more innovative ways than either credit union could previously.
Branches and locations
No decisions have been made regarding the locations of new branches, and we remain committed to not withdrawing ourselves from any locations that Savings & Loans or Australian Central currently operate in. We are still considering opening up to four new branches in South Australia within the next 18 months, along with other locations.
So while you might not be seeing a lot of changes from the outside, there is a lot of activity across both of our divisions to make sure this merger brings real benefits for our members.