Merger put before Enderby credit union members

Financial institution discusses relationship with Langley-based First West Credit Union

An Enderby landmark insists it has found a way to navigate the turbulence of the global market.

Enderby and District Credit Union is in merger talks with Langley-based First West Credit Union.

“We took a hard look at our operation and other operations around us,” said Ted Morrison, EDCU general manager, adding there have been shrinking margins and little control over international pressures.

“It was decided to look at partners while we still have a lot of strengths to provide.”

EDCU began in 1947 and it currently has  4,300 members and more than $55 million in assets.

First West is B.C.’s third-largest credit union, with $6.6 billion in assets and more than 169,000 members. It operates 37 branches under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands.

While other agencies were considered, Morrison says First West’s structure made the most sense.

“We will continue to have an Enderby presence,” said Morrison of a brand and leadership.

“We will keep it as local as possible.”

Morrison expects EDCU clients will benefit from the potential merger.

“Because of our size, there are certain products we haven’t been able to provide to our customers,” he said.

Negotiations between both sides will continue and regulatory approval will be required. The final step will be a vote among EDCU members likely by the end of 2012.

If the merger is voted down, Morrison says EDCU’s board of directors will consider options.

“It’s a factor that could be there but I believe this is the right thing to be doing and the right time to be doing it,” he said.

Besides EDCU, the only other independent financial institution headquartered in the North Okanagan is VantageOne Credit Union.

The Armstrong-Spallumcheen Credit Union joined with Valley First in 2001.