FAQs

Have questions? We have the answers.

Deciding to merge is a big decision, and we're sure you have lots of questions. We're listening.

Reasons and Benefits

Union Bay Credit Union and First Credit Union share the same values, serve a similar member base, and operate in complementary geographical regions. While Union Bay is in a strong financial position, the industry is changing rapidly. It’s imperative to find a partner who will help the credit union serve its members and communities into the next generation. In fall 2019, the Board of Directors of both organizations began exploring a potential merger as a way to keep pace with technology, remain competitive, continue to provide the best service and advice for members, and maximize community impact. After an extensive exploration phase, the Board of Directors approved a business case for the proposed merger and are now engaging with both credit unions’ members.

Our projections illustrate that a merged credit union will benefit all stakeholders: members, employees and communities. Members will benefit through greater access and convenience, a strong focus on financial well-being, enhanced products and services, along with improved technology. Employees will benefit from having a broader network, expanded career opportunities and improved work experience through increased effectiveness and better technology. This opportunity will help ensure we can continue to contribute to the sustainability of the communities we serve, whether financially, as volunteers or through community impact programs.

Banking and Branches

The branch network of Union Bay Credit Union perfectly complements First Credit Union’s expansion in the Comox Valley. Members will have access to a network of eight branch locations on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast (Bowen Island, Bowser, Courtenay, Cumberland, Hornby Island, Powell River, Texada Island, and Union Bay).

The branch networks of both credit unions complement each other geographically and there are no plans for branch closures. Both credit unions share a spirit of innovation and creativity that has enabled them to successfully operate credit union branches in small, rural communities. Find examples of successful mergers, community partnerships and creative start-ups here.

Cumberland Credit Union

Banking on Bowen Island

The Lighthouse Community Branch in Bowser

The Hornby Island Branch

We intend to minimize member impact and make the transition as seamless as possible. It is the goal initially to give members from both credit unions access to their accounts from any of the combined eight branches. Ultimately, products and services will be mapped, and an IT system integration will take place. We will be transparent with members and will communicate with you through this process.

 

The Merger Process

The merged credit union will operate under the name of “First Credit Union.” Click here for information on how the merged credit union will operate.

Linda Bowyer, First Credit Union’s President & CEO, will lead the merged credit union, supported by an executive management team that will include Mark Jones, the CEO from Union Bay. The new credit union will benefit from the continuity of leadership of both credit unions.

As cooperatives, member feedback is of utmost importance to us. We will keep you informed through this website, media releases, social media and in-branch materials. We will conduct member polls and have an email address – hello@sharedvisionsharedfuture.ca – specifically for member enquiries about the merger. Employees will be kept up-to-date to answer member questions, and we welcome all member feedback and questions whether in-branch, through the microsite, or on social media.

The proposed merger plan does not include any loss of employment. We anticipate that this merger will also provide multiple benefits and new opportunities for employees of both credit unions. Employees will develop their careers across a broader network, with more variety of roles than is currently available. The merged credit union’s combined operating capacity and broader employee base will mean increased growth and development opportunities through internal and external education, employee-run committees, and leadership training.

The merger will involve First Credit Union acquiring all of the assets and assuming all of the liabilities of Union Bay Credit Union under what is called an “Asset Transfer Agreement. In March 2021, BCFSA gave consent to the proposed Asset Transfer Agreement, allowing Union Bay to proceed with bringing a Special Resolution to their membership, asking for their approval to transfer the credit union’s assets to First Credit Union. See the full Member Guide to the Merger and the proposed Asset Transfer Agreement.

There are clear opportunities; however, there are also risks. In the opinion of the two Boards, the risks can be managed to gain access to the benefits. Click here for a summary of the risks, a description of each, and our risk management and mitigation approach.

Three directors from the Union Bay Board will join the First Credit Union Board immediately after the merger, serving with staggered terms of one, two, and three years. After this expansion, the Credit Union Board will have returned to its original size. Also, as regular vacancies on the Board arise, members from all communities will be eligible to participate in the annual nominating and elections process

The anticipated date for the merger to be effective is July 1, 2021.

We are currently consulting with members of both credit unions to provide an opportunity for members to learn more about the benefits and risks of the proposed merger, answer any questions they may have, and ensure we have their support. At the same time, integration plans are being developed to ensure a smooth transition for members and employees.