Holiday Coast Credit Union members urged to vote for merger with Regional Australia Bank

Holiday Coast Credit Union members are being urged to vote for the merger with Regional Australia Bank at a special meeting later this month.

In November, the credit union directors began discussions with the bank about merging. HCCU, which is customer-owned, has 25,000 members and 98 staff, with branches in Wauchope, Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Kempsey, Taree, Gloucester, Tea Gardens, Wingham, Greenhills, Tuncurry and Coffs Harbour.

Regional Australia Bank is customer-owned, and has 60,000 members and 200 staff. It pledges more than five per cent of its profits back into grassroots community initiatives. Its roots are in regional NSW and its head office is in Armidale.

It also has branches in Armidale, Uralla, Guyra, Walcha, Glen Innes, Manilla, Tamworth, Inverell, Barraba and Bingara.

It's proposed that there would be no forced redundancies among any of the staff, and that the merged organisation would continue to operate both Regional Australia Bank and Holiday Coast Credit Union brands in their respective locations.

This week, Holiday Coast Credit Union Chief Executive Officer, Neville Parsons said they have reached a crucial time.

"We are now in the most critical phase for the merger with Regional Australia Bank, and that is our members exercising their ownership rights and voting on the proposal to merge," he said.

Members have received their Notice of Meeting for the Special General Meeting to be held on Wednesday, May 29 at 5pm at Wauchope Country Club.

The information provided to members included a proxy form to enable those members who cannot attend the special meeting to vote, as well as the approved member information pack that provides all relevant information for members to inform their vote.

Mr Parsons encourages all members to review the information provided and to raise any questions or concerns with him prior to voting.

Members are encouraged to use the proxy voting form unless the member will be present in person at the Special General Meeting. Proxy voting forms are available on the Holiday Coast Credit Union website and in each of the branches.

Mr Parsons encouraged members to vote and said the merger was important to maintain quality member service through the existing branch network.

"The current market conditions and competition, the investment required in technology and the expectations of APRA requiring unquestionably strong capital and profitability were all critical drivers in the Board's unanimous recommendation to merge with Regional Australia Bank.

"The achieving efficiencies through scale economies and the ability to further enhance the relationship banking model are two key deliverables from the merging of the two member-owned regional financial institutions," he said.

"This merger with Regional Australia Bank is the pathway to ensure the continuation of the current services and distribution networks for members. Most importantly it is the pathway to ensure sustainability of the regional member owned relationship focused banking service in our area.

"The merged entity will continue to be member owned and will be better able to meet all the banking needs of members and their community throughout the Holiday Coast region and beyond," added Mr Parsons.

In closing, Mr Parsons encouraged all members to exercise their ownership rights and vote.

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