Bank reveals merger plans

An Australian bank and a credit union have revealed merger plans after signing a Memorandum of Understanding.

NSW-based Fire Brigades Employees’ Credit Union has initiated moves to merge with Teachers Mutual Bank, one of Australia’s largest mutual banks.

The boards of Fire Brigades Employees' Credit Union (FBECU) and Teachers Mutual Bank (TMB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on developing a mutually acceptable merger proposal, which will ultimately require the approval of FBECU members.

FBECU has more than 7,400 members and in excess of $215 million in assets.

FBECU general manager Jim O’Connell said the decision to seek a merger with a suitably aligned financial institution resulted from a strategic review conducted last year.

“We recognised that the best way to tackle the challenges of being a small financial institution in the current environment was to seek a merger with the right partner who would help us continue to deliver added value and a successful and sustainable future for our members,” Mr O’Connell said.

“We saw Teachers Mutual Bank as our preferred and ideal partner because they understand industrial-based brands and are a good cultural fit for us, with a strong member value proposition.”

Mr O’Connell said both parties have a strong commitment to retaining FBECU’s brand and role as a financial services provider dedicated to the NSW firefighting community. 

Teachers Mutual Bank CEO Steve James said the proposed merger was a good opportunity for TMB and supports the board of directors’ mutual banking growth strategy.

“There are good synergies between TMB and FBECU. Both are strong and well respected industrial-based brands, have high levels of service, strong ethics and community mindedness,” he said.

“Firefighters, like teachers, are key essential service workers and both parties see a strong allegiance there.”

Mr James confirmed the TMB brand and its bond, which is for people working in education and their families, will be unaffected.

“Each of our respective brands will continue to operate separately, but there will of course be synergies and efficiencies which will ultimately bring more benefits to members,” he said.

“Members of FBECU will have the advantage of being part of one of the largest, and growing, mutual banks in Australia.”

The proposal is expected to be put to FBECU members for a vote in the middle of this year after due diligence and regulatory approval from APRA.

[Related: Non-major lenders announce merger]

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