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Merger Would Create Uniquely Manitoban Credit Union

MANITOBA: April 17, 2024 – The future is not the status quo for Manitoba Credit Unions, say the Boards of Directors and leaders of Assiniboine Credit Union, Caisse Financial Group, and Westoba Credit Union. Today, they recommend their members and employees vote “Yes and Oui” this June to a merger that could take effect January 1, 2025.

“To continue meeting the needs and wants of our members, we should merge now. If we wait, mergers will continue to happen all around us. With the landscape changing so quickly and dramatically, we believe it’s imperative to merge now as strong partners,” says Crystal Laborero, Board Chair of Assiniboine Credit Union.

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.

“A merger of Assiniboine Credit Union, Caisse Financial Group, and Westoba Credit Union would create a uniquely Manitoban financial co-operative. It will be the first time a credit union will have such a wide geographic reach throughout Manitoba, offer French language services, and serve both urban and rural members through a values-based approach to banking,” Laborero adds.

In communications to the combined financial co-operatives’ 970 employees and 216,000 members, the three partners shared that in the last five months they have been completing their due diligence. They are now confident the merger is in the best interests of their members, employees, the communities they serve, and the greater credit union system. In doing so, they will create a credit union that reflects Manitoba’s diverse communities.

Caisse’s Board Chair Réal Déquier says that in the last few months it has become clear that their future partners value each other’s strengths and uniqueness, including the role the Francophone community plays in the vibrant tapestry of Manitoba.

“This merger is a unique opportunity to serve both English and French-speaking communities across Manitoba like never before. Our partners recognize the deep connection our Francophone community and French language services will have in shaping our new corporate identity. That is recognized in the bylaws and the governance model we have developed together for how we will operate going forward,” says Déquier.

Both Caisse Financial Group and Westoba Credit Union have decades of experience working in and for rural and agriculture communities while Assiniboine Credit Union has decades of experience serving urban and northern communities. Together, the three organizations will have the widest distribution of branches of any financial co-operative in Manitoba and $10 billion in assets to leverage for all its members’ financial needs.

“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,” says Garnet McBurney, Board Chair of Westoba Credit Union.

If approved by members in a June vote, 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 Assiniboine 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.

For the press release highlighting the new entity’s commitment to the French-language services go to CollaborationMB.ca.

For the press release highlighting the new credit union’s commitment to rural and agricultural communities go to CollaborationMB.ca.


About Assiniboine Credit Union

ACU is a financial co-operative in Manitoba with branches in Winnipeg, Thompson, and Gillam and more than $6 billion in assets. As a Certified B Corp, ACU serves its members on Treaty 1 and Treaty 5 lands, located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Red River Métis Nation.

ACU uses its expertise and resources to foster self-reliant and sustainable communities, while taking care to consider the impact of business decisions on employees, members, the environment, and the communities it serves. For more information, visit https://www.acu.ca/.

About Caisse Financial Group

Caisse Financial Group has over $2 billion in assets and 19 branches across Manitoba, serving more than 35,000 members with bilingual products and services. Caisse was the first officially registered co-operative in the province in 1937.

Caisse is a bilingual financial institution that offers financial products and services for every phase of life. Caisse’s mission is to meet its members’ evolving financial needs and invest in the well-being of its communities. The following core values support Caisse’s mission: Respect for Individuals, Integrity and Transparency, Innovation, and Community Involvement. For more information, visit https://www.caisse.biz/.

About Westoba Credit Union

Founded in 1963, Westoba Credit Union is a 60-year-old financial institution with $1.5 billion in assets. Proudly headquartered in Brandon, Manitoba, Westoba has a hybrid workforce with nearly half of its employees working remotely.

Committed to meeting the diverse needs of its 41,000 members, Westoba extends its reach through 13 physical branches that reach from The Pas to Cartwright and a virtual team that ensures accessible and convenient financial solutions for all members.

Westoba believes in staying connected and engaged, and empowering people and communities to thrive. For more information, visit https://www.westoba.com.

For more information:

Dean Beleyowski
Assiniboine Credit Union
Sylvie Laurencelle
Caisse Financial Group
Matt Worobec
Westoba Credit Union

Winnipeg, MB - Wednesday | April 17, 06:05 PM
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