Continuing its expansion through Westman, Sunrise Credit Union is closing in on a merger with Grandview Credit Union.
Membership at Grandview Credit Union will vote on the potential merger during a special meeting in the community on Feb. 28.
Grandview Credit Union interim general manager Dale Scott said on Tuesday that "outrageous" costs related to regulatory and technological changes are pushing the little guy out of the picture, and that a merger such as this was "just a matter of time."
It’s better they merge now, when they’re still doing well as an organization, than merge later when they’re more likely to be backed into a corner, he reasoned, noting that by merging right now Grandview Credit Union will be able to retain its current staffing levels.
The board of directors started looking into a merger a few years ago and ramped up the effort about six months ago, narrowing in on Sunrise Credit Union as an ideal partner, he explained.
For one, Sunrise Credit Union is operating on a much larger scale, so it is able to offer lower prices on various things such as technology through bulk purchasing.
The option for members to take pictures of cheques and have them deposited remotely, for example, costs Grandview Credit Union about $11 per cheque and costs Sunrise Credit Union members about 30 cents per cheque.
With Grandview Credit Union almost entirely dependent on the agricultural sector, it’s not diversified enough to weather economic storms, Scott said, noting that Sunrise Credit Union’s diversified base will help ease the bank through such situations.
Sunrise Credit Union also opens up other opportunities for its membership, Scott described, noting that its strong wealth management division is unlike anything the Grandview Credit Union is currently able to offer.
Sunrise Credit Union was the product of mergers, with five of its legacy Westman credit unions coming together in 2008, including those in Virden, Turtle Mountain, Tiger Hills and Cypress River.
Sunrise Credit Union president and CEO Tim Klassen came from Cypress River, taking over from outgoing president and CEO Harry Bowler, who exited the role at the start of 2017 in order to ease into retirement.
At the time, both Sunrise Credit Union leaders affirmed that more consolidations would be coming, and that the creation of larger credit unions is necessary to remain competitive in the business climate of today.
"We warmly welcome Grandview Credit Union members and staff to the Sunrise family," Klassen said in a release. "Building a larger and stronger credit union together will result in increased opportunities for staff and should enable increased products for members."
Pending the result of the Feb. 28 meeting in Grandview, the community would become the 15th served by Sunrise Credit Union, adding about $72 million in assets to the organization, bringing its total amalgamated assets close to $1 billion. Sunrise Credit Union would serve about 24,000 members, of whom about 10 per cent would be from the Grandview Credit Union.
Grandview Credit Union was established in 1942 and is a single-branch organization.
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