Beyond Bank, First Choice Credit Union announce merger plan

Proposal will be put to a vote by end of 2023

Beyond Bank, First Choice Credit Union announce merger plan

Beyond Bank has announced its plan to merge with First Choice Credit Union, as the trend for mergers among Australia’s mutuals continues.

Beyond Bank is one of Australia’s largest customer-owned banks and is headquartered in Adelaide. It boasts more than 290,000 customers and has over $8 billion in funds under management with a substantial presence in NSW’s Riverina region and across Australia.

First Choice Credit Union (FCCU) is based in Orange, NSW and was founded in 1970 by staff from local shire councils in the state’s Central West. It holds assets of about $100m and over the past 50 years secured a reputation of being a community-invested, customer-focused financial institution.

In a media release issued on Friday, Beyond Bank said the two financial institutions would now move ahead with merger planning ahead of a vote by FCCU’s 4000 members toward the end of 2023.

“We are very pleased to be enjoying highly constructive talks with FCCU as we are aligned in many ways through our vision, values and commitment to working for and with local communities,” said Beyond Bank CEO Robert Keogh (pictured above left).

“We look forward to providing updates as discussions progress.”

FCCU is described as a successful “ultra-niche” mutual, providing financial services to its members in Orange, with agencies in Canowindra, Cudal Manildra and Molong.

Paul Dawson (pictured above right), the general manager of FCCU, said “we are very excited to become part of Beyond Bank’s network”.

“They have a strong track record of supporting local communities where they are represented,” Dawson said.

First Choice Credit Union will integrate into Beyond Bank’s extensive regional and metropolitan network, creating access to the bank’s full suite of banking products and services and extending Beyond Bank’s community program to the local region.

Beyond Bank said all existing staff at FCCU would be offered roles in the merged organisation.

“We look forward to providing updates as discussions progress.”

The proposed merger follows the completion of two other high-profile mergers involving customer-owned banks.

In March of this year, Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent officially completed their merger to create the Newcastle Greater Mutual Group, with a combined $20bn in total assets and 1,600 employees.

In the same month, Heritage Bank and People’s Choice Credit Union also officially merged, with the tie-up resulting in an entity with more than $23bn in assets and 1,900 employees.