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ROCKHAMPTON, Australia – Members of the Capricornia Credit Union (CCU) voted September 6th to support their board of directors on issues related to a takeover bid by the Mackay Permanent Building Society (MPBS) that has seen several skirmishes. Over 5,000 members out of CCU’s 13,000 members voted on five motions. The motions were carried between 93% and 99% of those voting. CCU took the unprecedented action in calling a meeting in response to one of MPBS’s criticisms that their bid was not being presented to the members that it affects. MPBS then took an advertisement in The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin, the local daily urging members to at least listen to the takeover proposal. CCU’s boards feels since they rejected the takeover offer, there is no viable proposal. MPBS disagreed. “We felt a bona fide offer like that should be decided by the members,” Bob Neely MPBS CEO said. To reach CCU members MPBS went to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) who ordered Capricornia to release the list in January. The appeal against releasing the names and addresses that CCU filed with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will be decided this month, although the members have indicated that they want their membership information kept private by their 99.85% vote on the privacy motion. Members did receive information on the proposal prepared by BDO Kendall who holds an Australian Financial Services license. The issuing of the report was the cause of another battle. At first BDO Kendall described themselves as an “independent expert,” but because they had done previous work for CCU, they reissued the report describing themselves as a “non-independent expert” although they stated in the report that “there is no requirement in the Corporations Act that BDO KSL actually be independent for the purposes of preparing this report.” MPSB was founded in 1955 to offer alternatives to the traditional banking choices and has total assets of AUS$310(US$238) million with 21,000 members. Building societies have a co-operative structure and were formed to offer reasonable house mortgages. MPBS is now a public company. CCU was founded four years later and was called Park Avenue Parish Credit Co-Operative Ltd. It changed from an all-volunteer to an employee-managed credit union in 1979 and currently maintains seven branches in six communities. It offers a range of savings and loan products for personal and business reasons. It has AUS$8 (US$6.15) million in assets. Australian credit unions are not limited by a common bond. Both are considered small players in the large Australian financial services market where banks have billions in assets. Other motions that received the same overwhelming approval were to allow for the raising of additional capital by offering investment shares to members, to require `fit and proper’ eligibility requirements for directors thus complying with a new Australian Prudential Regulation Authority policy and the removal of director age limit restrictions. “The results show members clearly support Capricornia as a strong and independent financial institution. The yes vote is a vote of confidence in the staff and directors of Capricornia, and I am grateful for the trust our members have shown the credit union,” Ross Sterlow CCU chairman said. [email protected]

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