CREDIT SQUEEZE

By EMMA CORNFORD

BIG RIVER Credit Union will merge with Bananacoast Community Credit Union (BCU) in the next few months if the planned amalgamation is approved by regulatory bodies.

The move would see Big River and BCU become a single consolidated unit under the BCU brand.

General manager of Big River Credit Union Graeme Green said the amalgamation would be in the best interests of both companies and a positive step for the Clarence Valley.

"At the moment we're all duplicating the processes for compliance with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and Australian Investments and Securities Commission (ASIC) and it's a very expensive position (so) from a financial and regulatory point of view it was in our interests to get a partner," Mr Green said.

"We looked at several others (credit unions) but determined that BCU was the best fit with our organisation and members, but also geographically."

He said there would be no forced redundancies if the merger went ahead and more staff would be needed to accomplish expansion plans.

"We will actually need new staff and more staff as we have more growth opportunities and expansion plans but they will all be subject to the review ... but I don't think there will be any problems there," Mr Green said.

He said the merger would expand the services available to members, including a depth of commercial lending, financial planning and insurance services offered by BCU.

"It should all be seamless for members. Basically they can just move over and get the benefits."



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