Since the announcement of the intention to explore a merger between Westoba Credit Union and Assiniboine Credit Union and Caisse Financial Group, the organizations have been working on a due diligence process, as well as putting together a business profile for each of the Board of Directors to consider.

Westoba President and CEO, Jim Rediger, says all three Board of Directors agree the business case merits moving forward and are recommending the merger of the three organizations.

'A merger of two of Manitoba’s leading credit unions and a caisse will be better for rural and urban members, agricultural businesses, and communities, say the Boards of Directors and leaders of Westoba Credit Union, Caisse Financial Group and Assiniboine Credit Union. Today, they recommend members and employees vote “Yes and Oui” this June to a merger that could take effect January 1, 2025.

"Certainly, the first part of this whole process has been what we call 'an exploration stage' so we've had open houses with our members," explains Rediger.  "Certainly, what we've had so far has been very postive feedback from our membership. They are quite excited about the prospect of the merger. We've had a few questions which we've answered to the best of our ability, and that input and feedback from members have been incorporated into the business case."

"And so what we're really hoping and expecting is that our members will see that feedback and the information that will be provided for them shortly to be able to assess the benefits of the merger and hopefully align themselves with the recommendations of their Boards that they vote 'yes' on the merger."

“The merged credit union would have wider geographic coverage, be able to offer a greater suite of products, have a larger scale of funding for agricultural and commercial businesses, and an ability to provide better service with access to more employees with broader and more specialized skills,” says Garnet McBurney, Board Chair of Westoba Credit Union.

“This merger would give us the capacity and scale to create a unique credit union that has a larger network of employees who are excited to make a difference in the rural and urban communities we serve as active volunteers. It will create more diverse career opportunities for our employees, who are our greatest strength. We are doing what we always do best, working cooperatively for what’s best for our members, employees, and communities. It’s who we are,” adds McBurney.

Please listen to more with President and CEO for Westoba Credit Union, Jim Rediger below!

'The commitment to rural communities is also reflected in the proposed board composition of the new entity. The merged credit union would be governed by a 12-member board, which includes six members from Assiniboine and three each from Caisse and Westoba. Future elections will be held on an at-large basis, ensuring a minimum of two directors who meet its definition of a rural individual and a minimum of two directors who meet the entity’s definition of a Francophone individual,' states the recent media release.

'If approved by members, the merged organization would be the only purpose-driven financial co-operative in the province to carry a French and English name. Assiniboine Credit Union / Caisse Assiniboine1 allows either the English version or the French version to be used in serving the broad base of urban, rural, and agricultural communities in Manitoba.

Following a thorough selection process, all three boards have unanimously recommended current Assiniboine President & CEO Kevin Sitka as President & CEO of the new organization. Caisse CEO Joël Rondeau and Westoba President & CEO Jim Rediger will continue in leadership roles to support the post-merger entity.

Some of the key pressures on financial institutions like credit unions include significant investments necessary for digital banking advancements, growing regulatory requirements, increased competitive pressures from outside the market, and the need to spend more on increasingly complex cybersecurity measures to protect members. All require investments that are hard to sustain for one credit union on its own. To keep pace with the needs and wants of its members, it is imperative to merge now as strong partners.

The Boards of Directors and leadership of all three credit unions recommend its 970 employees and 216,000 members vote in favour of the merger this June.'

If the proposed merger is approved, the new entity could take effect January 1, 2025.