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Heritage Credit Union proposes merger with East Kootenay

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Another local credit union is thinking about mergering.

Heritage Credit Union, which has branches in Castlegar, Slocan Park, in Greenwood is in talks to amalgamate with East Kootenay Community Credit Union.

“Partnering will potentially create a better, stronger credit union and is an exciting opportunity for our respective members and employees,” East Kootenay chair Lynnette Wray said in a prepared statement.

“Our boards and management teams know we must grow and evolve in order to compete, to take advantage of changing technology, and to better serve our members and employees. We believe a merger may be how together, we begin to achieve that goal.”

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However, the credit unions said additional analysis and consultation will happen first.

“Any merger we consider must be in everyone’s best interests,” Heritage board chair Joleen Kinakin, said in the statement. “[We] are committed to consulting with our members and employees on this important effort so their voices are heard. The credit union we create must build on our respective legacies while fueling the potential of our members, employees and the communities we serve.”

The credit unions have entered a memorandum of understanding and are developing a business case for the new, combined credit union.

Other steps in the merger discussions include consulting members and employees, and obtaining regulatory consent. Progress with these steps will determine the timeline of a merger, but both credit unions are eager to proceed with the next stage of merger discussions, they said in the statement.

East Kootenay Community Credit Union is headquartered in Cranbrook and has 10,936 members, 48 employees and branches in Cranbrook, Elkford, Fernie and Sparwood as well as $456 million in assets.

Heritage Credit Union has 7,015 members, 32 employees and $256 million in assets under administration.

Grand Forks Credit Union recently announced that it is in merger talks with Gulf and Fraser Fisherman’s Credit Union.

Grand Forks, Heritage, and East Kootenay previously looked at joining forces with four other credit unions, but that deal was called off last year.

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