Heritage Bank and People’s Choice Credit Union have confirmed their intention to proceed with merger plans after completing an extensive due diligence process.
The proposed merger, which was originally announced last year, would create one of the largest customer-owned banking organisations in the country with 720,000 members and total assets worth more than $22.5 billion.
In a statement on Wednesday, the two firms said that the proposed merger provided a “unique and compelling opportunity” to improve member benefits including enhanced products, services, digital capabilities and competitive pricing.
“We are confident a merger is firmly in our members’ best interests. Joining forces represents a unique pairing of equals, offering unparalleled cultural and strategic alignment and an absolute commitment to mutuality,” said Heritage CEO Peter Lock.
“By coming together, we will create a national member-owned banking organisation that will be of a size and scale to enable us to deliver outstanding products and services for our members,” added People’s Choice CEO Steve Laidlaw.
The proposed merger is still subject to regulatory and member approval, with detailed information to be provided to members ahead of a vote at the annual general meeting of both organisations later this year.
If members vote in favour of the proposal, Heritage and People’s Choice expect the merged organisation would be established early next year.
As part of the merger, there will be no redundancies below executive level as well as no branch closures, the two firms said.
Heritage and People’s Choice have also agreed to the governance structure of the combined entity, which will include Mr Lock as CEO and Mr Laidlaw as deputy CEO.
Mr Lock will retire 18 months after the merged organisation has been established, with Mr Laidlaw then moving into the CEO role.
Additionally, existing People’s Choice chairman Michael Cameron will be appointed chairman of the merged organisation and current Heritage chairman Kerry Betros will take up the role of deputy chairman.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.