Westoba Credit Union, Assiniboine Credit Union, and Caisse Financial Group have announced they are collaborating to explore combining their operations to create a new credit union in Manitoba.

The three organizations have started an exploration process where they will evaluate each other’s operations and develop a comprehensive business case. The new credit union would commence operations in a financially strong and highly competitive position, with nearly $10 billion in assets.

“The decision on whether to come together as one will be guided by the question, is this collaboration in the best interests of our members, employees and communities,” says Garnet McBurney, Board Chair Westoba Credit Union, “This includes a commitment to ensuring our values guide our decision making, and continuing to support the communities that make the partners who we are today – Manitoba’s rural, agriculture-based, urban, and French communities.”

Westoba reached their 60-year milestone this year and so collaborating with Assiniboine CU and Caisse Financial opens up a brand-new chapter for Westoba.

"There's a lot of things going on in our industry that need to be addressed and so we just felt this was an appropriate time to come together as three organizations and see what we can do to collaborate and deal with those changes," explains Westoba President and CEO, Jim Rediger. "Really, we think at the end of the day that a merger is good for our communities, our members, our employees, because we believe our partners really embrace and are excited about the same things we are. So, I think that's pretty exciting for us; when you can work with partners that believe the same things that you believe in."

"We believe together, we can be better and stronger and a more sustainable organization," adds Rediger.

Throughout this process the partners will consult with their employees, members, and communities to learn more about what they would like to see from their financial services provider in the future. If the due diligence and business case processes result in the three Boards recommending a merger, regulatory and membership approval will be sought.

“The environment for Canadian financial institutions is influenced by increasing competition, member needs and expectations, technology investments, a challenging economic environment and increasing regulatory requirements,” says Crystal Laborero, Board Chair, Assiniboine Credit Union. “We are exploring whether together as one credit union, we could be stronger and better positioned to address these opportunities and challenges.”

“There is the potential to build something great for our members and our province,” says Réal Déquier, Board Chair, Caisse Financial Group. “The partners have made a commitment that a new entity would continue to offer French language services. A new financial cooperative with greater size and strength will have more capacity to deliver enhanced products, services, and technology for our personal and business members.”

"We're really excited about this opportunity," shares Jim Rediger. "I think it has tremendous benefits for our employees, our staff, our communities and we're looking forward to dialoguing with our members and our staff over the next few weeks and months to help build this new organization with hopes that it gets the approval of our members over the next few months.

Rediger says the final member vote would take place later in 2024 and if they proceed with the merger, the new credit union would be in effect January 1, 2025.

Please listen to President and CEO for Westoba Credit Union below as he shares more on this collaborative effort.

 For more information, please visit: CollaborationMB.ca

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