Voting opens on bcu merger
bcu says its members would be the winners in a proposed merger with Western Australian mutual P&N Bank.
Members could expect reduced fees and improved services the key benefits on offer according to detailed information released today.
With the five-week proxy vote on the proposal now open, all members have been sent a member booklet and independent expert's report with a recommendation from the bcu directors to vote in favour of the merger.
The full documents can be accessed online at bcu.com.au/vote.
The member booklet explains that bcu's brand, store network and staffing would not change as a result of the proposed merger, while significant savings achieved from the scale of the merged organisation would be given back to members via reduced fees.
bcu chairman Steve Targett said the merger would allow bcu to remove all monthly fees from personal access accounts and personal loans and reduce the number of transaction fees on personal access accounts.
"The merger is expected to deliver significant savings, which would be delivered back to members," Mr Targett said.
"Importantly, members would stay as shareholders in a member-owned bank and would be part of one of the largest and therefore strongest mutuals in Australia.
"By achieving scale, we can also provide members with a wider range of products and better services, including digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay."
He said the independent expert that assessed the proposal, Grant Samuel, found that in the face of increasing costs and revenue pressure a merger was important for bcu to stay competitive and continue to deliver for members.
He added that given the challenges facing the Australian banking industry, a failure to merge with P&N Bank presented significant risks.
"bcu is in a good financial position but operates in a changing market where costs are increasing and revenue is not keeping pace. Economies of scale are needed to continue offering members competitive interest rates and fees," Mr Targett said.
"The independent expert has concluded that in the absence of a superior proposal, this merger is in the best interests of bcu members. If members vote against the merger the risk is this may lead to a different merger in the future with outcomes that could be poorer for bcu members and the community."
The merger of bcu and P&N Bank, unanimously backed by both boards, would create a member-owned bank with two brands, 150,000 members and $6 billion in total assets.
All 21 bcu stores would remain open, the bcu brand would be retained, and there would be no forced job losses as a result of the merger.
Mr Targett encouraged all members to read the member booklet, available from today, and to attend information events in their area.
For more information, members can speak with their local store team, call bcu on 1300 228 228 or click here.
•Proxy voting opens: Today
•Proxy form deadline: October 20
•bcu general meeting: October 22
•P&N Bank general meeting: October 23
•Proposed merger date: November 1