East Coast Credit Union, Teachers Plus Credit Union and Valley Credit Union are proposing an amalgamation to create a better, stronger credit union to provide more value to our members, staff, and communities across Nova Scotia.

What to Expect

Overview

Together we can achieve so much. The combined credit union will continue to be a community-focused financial institution putting the needs of individuals, families, the Nova Scotia teaching community, and small businesses first.  We want all our members to benefit from having a world-class financial institution in Nova Scotia focused solely on meeting their unique financial needs. 

Our vision – Community Focus. Provincial Strength. Our goal is to be the very best cooperative financial institution in Nova Scotia. This is where we all live, work and play, making our focus here that much more important.

An amalgamation between our credit unions helps to ensure local banking services and solutions remain a competitive and accessible choice for the communities we serve.

Statistics

Merged Credit Union

Members

56,000

Assets

$1.25 billion

Employees

270

Branches

26

What to Expect

Benefits

More value to our members, communities, and employees.

  • Access to multiple convenient banking options so members can bank when, where, and how they want.
  • Increased investments in competitive products and services that help members achieve their financial goals.
  • Greater access to specialized financial services and expertise.
  • All members will have access to a Member Advice Centre with experienced staff ready to help them meet their everyday banking needs over the phone or online.

Local and community-focused

  • Locally based banking options and personalized service from staff members know.
  • Our local focus means we will continue to invest in areas that are important to members and communities. 
  • Members will continue to benefit from local decision-making.

Continued growth and sustainability

  • More resources to invest in innovative products services to increase our competitiveness.
  • Ability to implement more cost-effective solutions to improve product and service delivery.
  • Combining the best of what each credit union offers will position us well to meet industry challenges and help ensure we are here to serve Nova Scotians for years to come.

Our Locations

Our Combined Branch Network

With 26 locations across Nova Scotia, members will have more options to access their banking services.

The Timeline

Important Dates

2020

  • The Boards of East Coast Credit Union (East Coast), Teachers Plus Credit Union (Teachers Plus) and Valley Credit Union (Valley) began discussing the potential for an amalgamation.
  • Sub-committees comprised of representatives from all three boards were formed and motions were approved to assess the potential for an amalgamation and make recommendations back to their respective boards.

January – April 2021

  • The committees met monthly to examine the opportunities and benefits of a potential amalgamation
  • A business case was developed and reviewed
  • The committees performed rigorous due diligence including the creation of bylaws prior to recommending amalgamation to the three boards

27 April  2021

The business case and related documents were presented to the Boards of all three credit unions for voting

7 May 2021

All three boards approved the business case during separate meetings and agreed to recommend an amalgamation to members

25 May 2021

East Coast, Teachers Plus and Valley Credit Unions announce the proposed amalgamation to members

14 – 29 June 2021

Member voting is open

29 June 2021

Special Members Meeting or AGM for each of the three credit unions

30 June 2021

Request for Regulatory approvals will commence

1 January 2022

Official amalgamation date if members vote in favour

The Case For Amalgamation

Key Highlights

The Board of Directors at East Coast Credit Union, Teachers Plus Credit Union and Valley Credit Union have carefully considered the amalgamation and are recommending it based on the strength of the business case and opportunities a single united credit union can enable to sustain and grow value for their members for years to come. 

Overview

  • The proposed amalgamation creates a strong values-based financial institution and ensures the personal and professional advice members and communities have come to expect from their credit union remains for years to come.
  • To proceed, members from at least two of the three credit unions must vote in favour of the amalgamation. 
  • The new credit union will be guided by a single board and have a single strategic plan to guide the organization. The inaugural board will include 12 directors – eight representatives from East Coast, three from Valley and one from Teachers Plus.

Business Goals

  • The three partners are strongly aligned, with shared values, community roots and purpose-driven cultures. Working as one entity, they can enable more opportunities for growth and invest in technology and services that add benefit to members, employees and the communities served.
  • The proposed amalgamation has a positive influence on revenue growth, operational efficiency, earnings, member equity and sustainability.
    • Revenue Growth: The combined operating capacity of a new merged entity creates long-term value for members. Key areas of focus include personalized member service, enhanced digital service solutions (online and mobile banking) and enabling a more competitive product offering. Through strategic alignment and partnerships, the merged entity can further develop its wealth management, commercial and personal lending business.

Operational Efficiency, Sustainability and Member Equity

  • Significant efficiencies and cost savings. The savings will be reinvested to create greater value for members over the next three to five years. 
  • Earnings before taxes and community investment will be $14M in 2025
  • Return on Assets increases from 0.27% to 0.66% between 2021 and 2025 
  • Efficiency ratio improves with the operating efficiency ratio dropping from 88.17% in 2021 to 74.65% in 2025 (the operating efficiency ratio measures what it costs the organization in operating costs to earn $1 revenue. The lower this number is, the better.)
  • Member Equity grows from 6.47% in 2021 to 7.67% by 2025

Following are examples of how increases in annual surplus will be reinvested in the new credit union to create member value:

  • Enhanced training and career growth opportunities for employees means members will have access to more specialized financial advice.
  • Increased investments in digital banking services to bring more choice and convenience to all members.
  • Investment in communities: the new credit union will have more resources to invest in partnerships and initiatives that make our communities stronger for everyone.

Operations

  • The new credit union will operate under the name East Coast Credit Union Limited.
  • The organization will maintain a decentralized approach to a head office, with Centre’s of Excellence located in Antigonish, Dartmouth, Port Hawkesbury and Waterville.
  • The merged organization will be led by a single board of directors and East Coast’s current CEO, Ken Shea will be the CEO for the amalgamated organization.

Member Service

  • The organization will prioritize personalized service to members, relationship building and improved product and service offerings.
  • Current and future members will benefit from having a world-class financial institution focused solely on their unique financial needs and well-being operating right here at home in Nova Scotia.
  • All members gain increased access to points of service with a network of 26 branches and a Member Advice Centre.

Employees

  • In the first 12 months, there will be no changes to the branch network or the number of employees (except for retirements and attrition) due to the amalgamation. 
  • Total compensation parity will be reached over a maximum of three years and all staff will benefit from a fair and competitive total compensation package. 
  • Investment in training and best practice service delivery enhances career and professional growth opportunities for all staff.

Community

  • All three partners are committed and aligned in their cooperative values and social responsibility. Amalgamation creates a financially stronger, more diverse credit union and increases the capacity it has to give back to the communities it serves.
  • The new credit union will honour the three partners existing commitments to community initiatives. 
  • The new credit union will remain committed to ensuring members benefit from personalized service from staff they know and locally based banking.

Due Diligence

  • The Executive Management at all three credit unions completed due diligence reviews of each other’s operations and concluded there were no significant risks or concerns. Areas that were included as part of this review include earnings, liquidity, capital, credit, human resources, risk management, regulatory and information technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q&As

What is an amalgamation?

In our case, it is the coming together of our three credit unions to make one better and stronger credit union that provides more value to our members, staff, and communities than each of us can individually.

Why are we amalgamating?

Our goal is to be the best co-operative financial institution for our members, staff, and communities.

  • We can invest in more competitive products and services to meet your changing needs and expectations so you can bank when, where, and how you want. 
  • We will maintain our local focus and with our combined resources we will be able to invest in more areas that are important to members and communities across Nova Scotia.  
  • A combined network of 26 branches means members will have greater access to banking services in communities across the province. In addition, all members will have access to a Member Advice Centre with experience staff ready to assist with their every day banking needs online or over the phone.
  • An amalgamation positions us well for future growth and sustainability – we can implement more cost-effective solutions to improve product and service delivery and meet the challenges facing the financial services industry.

Is the credit union in trouble?

No. All three credit unions had very successful years financially.  We have been exploring opportunities to increase the value we provide to members and communities, increase our efficiency, and improve our sustainability for the past several months.

Is my money safe?

Yes. Credit union deposits are always safe and secure. Member deposits are insured by the Nova Scotia Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation with up to $250,000 on a range of accounts.

Will you become ‘just like the banks’ if we amalgamate and grow?

  • We are so much more than a bank – our co-operative values and commitment to local decision-making sets us apart from other financial intuitions.  This amalgamation is about being stronger.  It will allow us to increase the value and benefits we provide to you, our communities, and employees.
  • Together, we can implement more cost-effective solutions to improve product and service delivery and meet industry challenges, ensuring your credit union is here for years to come. 
  • Every decision is made with the best interests of our collective membership in mind.

Will I be able to use my current cheques and cards?

Yes. We don’t anticipate any changes to debit cards, credit cards or cheques until we complete a data merge which will likely occur within 24 – 36 months following the amalgamation.  Members will be notified well in advance of any changes and every effort will be made to minimize any disruption to ensure a smooth transition.

Will I lose my statement information when the data is merged?

No. Members will be able to access this information after the data merge has taken place.  Members will be notified well in advance of any changes and every effort will be made to minimize any disruption to ensure a smooth transition.

Will my account information change?

We don’t anticipate any changes to member accounts until we complete a data merge which will likely occur within 24 – 36 months following the amalgamation.

Will service charges / rates change?

  • The service charges will be standardized over time for the new credit union and may result in increases in some fees or accounts and decreases in others. 
  • Each credit union regularly reviews its service charges to make sure they are fair and competitive.  This process will be followed in the new organization.
  • The new credit union will honour any agreements that members have now until they expire.

Will new policies and processes affect the standard of member service if we amalgamate?

The three partner credit unions pride themselves on their commitment to service excellence and member satisfaction. This will not change.  Members will see enhanced service across all locations and the same friendly staff you know and trust.

Will any branches close?

We are maintaining our combined network of 26 branches across Nova Scotia. Like any business, we will regularly review our operations to ensure we are continuing to serve our members and communities in ways that best meet their needs.

Will there be job losses as a result of the amalgamation?

No. Staffing levels will be maintained.

Will community support be diminished if you amalgamate?

No. The three partner credit unions are aligned in their commitment to supporting local communities.  An amalgamation means we will have more resources to invest in areas that are important to members and that help build strong successful communities.  Existing community commitments for all three partner credit unions will be honoured if members vote in favour of amalgamation.

Where is the registered office going to be?

The registered office will be in Antigonish; this area holds a special significance to the credit union and co-operative movement in Nova Scotia.  However, the new credit union will operate under a decentralized model meaning we will have a dispersed management team operating from four Centres of Excellence: Port Hawkesbury, Antigonish, Dartmouth and Waterville.

Who’s going to be the CEO?

If members vote in favour of the amalgamation, Ken Shea, CEO of East Coast Credit Union will be the CEO of the new combined organization. Len Ells, CEO of Valley Credit Union, and Steve Richard, CEO of Teachers Plus Credit Union will retire on December 31, 2021.

What will the name of the new credit union be?

If members vote in favour of the amalgamation, the three boards agreed the name of the new organization will be East Coast Credit Union Limited. + branch location (e.g., East Coast Credit Union Limited, Cambridge Branch).

Why aren’t you recommending an amalgamation with different/other credit unions?

While we have longstanding relationships with the other credit unions in Nova Scotia, including those in close geographic proximity, the three boards believe an amalgamation between East Coast, Teachers Plus and Valley Credit Unions will best meet the needs of our members at this time. Additionally, these three credit unions do not currently share market territory with each other.

If we amalgamate when would it happen?

If members vote in favour of amalgamation, the new credit union would legally take effect on January 1, 2022.

How large will the amalgamated credit union be?

It will have a combined membership of more than 56,000 and assets of almost $1.25B and 26 branches (as of December 31, 2020).

Do members have a say in the amalgamation?

Yes.  The co-operative principle of democratic member control means the final decision is up to our members. It is your responsibility to vote on the future of your credit union.

When will the member vote take place?

Members can cast their vote online from June 14 at 9:30AM to midnight on June 29.  Members are encouraged to participate in their credit union’s AGM or Special Membership Meeting on June 29 at 7PM to learn more about the benefits and opportunities of the amalgamation.

Do members from all three credit unions have to vote in favour for the amalgamation to proceed?

No. The amalgamation will proceed if members from two of the three partner credit unions vote in favour as long as one is East Coast.  Only the credit unions in favour of the amalgamation will move forward.

What happens if members vote no?

The business case presents compelling evidence that an amalgamation is the right decision for our credit union. We hope you see the benefits and opportunities as positively as we do; however, you have the final say. If you vote not to merge, we will continue to look for opportunities to enhance member service, gain efficiencies, and grow our business while ensuring our long-term sustainability.

How many board members will there be? How will it be determined who the board will be?

The new credit union will have an inaugural Board of 12 Directors: Eight (8) members from East Coast; three (3) from Valley; and one (1) from Teachers Plus. Terms will be staggered equitably, in the normal fashion, with 1 – 3-year assignments to allow for orderly succession of the board. The intent will be to move the board to a regional representation model as outlined in the bylaws.

Where can I get more information?

We have created a website specifically to provide important details on the proposed amalgamation:

localfocusmemberfirst.ca.  If you need additional information or have more questions, fill out the Contact Form on the website and a representative from your credit union will get in touch with you.

Contact

Get In Touch

Want to talk to us directly? Please send us a brief message and one of our team members will be in touch.

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Voting Details