NZ credit unions to merge

Five of the biggest New Zealand credit unions, including NZCU Baywide, are to merge under a single brand as they aim to become a stronger competitor to mainstream banks.

NZCU South, NZCU Central, NZCU Steelsands, Aotearoa Credit Union, and NZCU Baywide have agreed to merge, the unions announced today. The decision to join forces comes as the credit unions look to take business from the country's major lenders, which have limited credit availability over the past 18 months.

The deal is subject to completion and transfer of engagements, the firms said. The parties said they hoped the deal would provide a "strong competitive alternative" to the big banks. The merger requires approval from members of the unions.

It comes after NZCU Baywide unveiled a series of new products to win mortgage business over the course of 2018, including 95% mortgages and relaxed NSR requirements for high LVR loans. 

The merger comes after the five credit unions agreed to go under the same computer system last year. 

Gavin Earle, the CEO of NZCU Baywide, told TMM Online the merger would "enhance the opportunity for us to serve more in the broker market". He added: "It will be a stronger proposition for those that do not fit squarely with tier 1 banking".

Earle added: "There is a really exciting tier 2 opportunity. With a customer base of 75,000, there is a huge opportunity to build on that, with a 100% cooperative-owned organisation."

Iain Taylor, chair of NZCU Baywide, (pictured), said the deal would help the unions offer a greater range of products. “We have a collective vision to continue to develop a strong, competitive and sustainable sector that delivers on its purpose of ‘people helping people’ across New Zealand.

The new group will focus on home loans, personal loans, savings and investments, everyday transaction accounts and insurance for vehicles, loan protection, funeral protection, home and contents.

Taylor added: “The scale of the larger credit union will deliver efficiencies, better pricing for savings and lending rates, and reach across the combined nationwide branch network and online.  It will bring more potential to invest in technology to improve services and wider access to capital for the benefit of member owners."

“Scale does matter in an increasingly competitive financial sector and we all believe our united approach will bring a competitive banking alternative that is 100% customer and Kiwi owned."

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