Competition with merged banks welcome if federal government provides credit unions with legislative support Canada’s national credit union association has no objection to bank mergers, as long as the competitive balance of the financial services industry is maintained. OTTAWA, Dec. 4, 2002 /CNW/ - In its submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, Credit Union Central of Canada took a pro-merger position, saying that it views mergers in the financial services sector as a viable business strategy, with potentially healthy outcomes for the Canadian financial system. At the same time, the national credit union association encouraged the federal government to sustain competitive balance by strengthening the ability of co-operative financial institutions to compete against large banks. Joanne De Laurentiis, President & CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada, and Jonathan Guss, President & CEO of Credit Union Central of Ontario, urged the government to “proceed as quickly as possible” to enact regulations drafted for the Cooperative Credit Associations Act, which would enhance the credit union system’s ability to compete. These regulations were contemplated in Bill C-8, the federal legislation for the financial services sector that was passed in 2001. In addition, Mr. Guss asked that “all legislative and regulatory impediments in federal legislation” be removed to allow the co-operative financial sector to proceed with cross- provincial initiatives, such as the proposed merger of the financial arms of Credit Union Central of British Columbia and Credit Union Central of Ontario. The proposed merger has received overwhelming support from credit unions in Ontario and B.C., he said. Ms. De Laurentiis commented that such initiatives will increase the capacity of the credit union system to compete against large banks and that “the need for cost efficiencies and scale in the credit union system is a current, not a future need.” Regarding proposals for a co-operative bank system in Canada, Ms. De Laurentiis supported further consultations that would “directly involve representatives of the co-operative financial system.” With $64 billion in assets, 646 credit unions and 4.6 million members, Canada’s credit union system is a vital competitor in the financial services industry. Credit Union Central of Canada (“Canadian Central”) functions as the system’s national trade association and central finance facility. The credit union system is a three-tier structure of local, provincial and national organizations. Local credit unions operate autonomously and are the primary shareholder members of provincial Centrals, which are in turn the primary shareholder members of Canadian Central. For more information about Canada’s credit unions, check out www.cucentral.ca. -30- For further information please contact: Veronica Feldcamp, Director, Trade Association Services Credit Union Central of Canada, Tel: (416) 232-3417, firstname.lastname@example.org. Steve Mosey, Communications Officer Credit Union Central of Canada, Tel: (416) 232-3433, email@example.com.
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