Two of Canada's Largest Credit Union Centrals Call off Merger
TORONTO - Citing the lack of compatible legislation framework, the Credit Union Central of British Columbia and the Credit Union Central of Ontario have called off a merger that had been in the works since 2000. In a 2000 Credit Union Times article, both Wayne Nygren, president/CEO of CUC of British Columbia, and Jonathan Guss, president/CEO of CUC of Ontario, agreed that combining their respective wholesale financial services function would enable them both to "take better aim at the competition." Despite overwhelming approval from member credit unions on the merger - 98% in British Columbia and 94% in Ontario - both centrals agreed "while excellent progress has been made on many of these legislative changes, the centrals have determined that, short of obtaining enabling legislation, solutions beneficial to the credit union systems of both provinces cannot be found," Nygren said in a statement. The merger was scheduled to be complete by the end of this year. The B.C. central has $3.8 billion in assets and 290 employees at its office in Vancouver. It is owned by 67 local credit unions, 39 co-operatives and 39 other corporations. B.C. credit unions have $25 billion in assets and serve more than 1.4 million members. The Ontario central has $1.7 billion in assets and 143 employees at its office in Mississauga. It is principally owned by 221 credit unions. Ontario credit unions have $11.6 billion in assets and serve more than 1.2 million members. As provincially-chartered credit union centrals, the two organizations provide a variety of financial services to credit unions in their respective provinces, including liquidity management, wholesale lending, and settlement of both checks and electronic payment items. The merger would have created a single, federally regulated organization to perform these functions. Currently, each central also serves as the trade association for its provincial credit union system, providing such services as government relations, education and training, member and public relations, market research and operational assistance.