Second time not lucky for proposal to create Manitoba's largest credit union

For the second time this year, a bid to merge two large Manitoba credit unions has failed.

Members of Access Credit Union voted Wednesday against a proposal to join forces with Assiniboine Credit Union.

About 4,500 of Access’s 42,000 eligible voting members cast ballots, but nearly 62 per cent said no to the merger.

Five months ago, just over 700 Access members voted 63.2 per cent in favour, but the resolution needed a two-thirds majority, or 66.67 per cent, to pass.

Had the proposal been supported, the new entity would have been the largest credit union in Manitoba and the sixth largest in Canada.

A vote by Assiniboine members scheduled for next Monday has been cancelled.

Access members in eight southern communities, including Altona, Carman, Grunthal, Morden, Morris, Oak Bluff, Vita and Winkler, cast ballots on Wednesday.

Darryl Loewen, board chairman at Access, said he is disappointed with the outcome.

“While as a board we firmly believed the merger would make two strong credit unions stronger in the face of a rapidly changing financial sector, our members felt otherwise.”

Access Credit Union has 17 branches, 260 employees and more than $2 billion in assets under administration.

Assiniboine has 112,806 members, 520 employees and 19 branches in Winnipeg, as well as a branch each in Gillam and Thompson.

Assiniboine’s annual report for 2014 shows the institution had assets totalling $3.8 billion. (CJOB, CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)