Mutual lender announces major merger

by Julia Corderoy01 Mar 2016
Leading mutual lender, Teachers Mutual Bank has announced a major merger with NSW-based Fire Brigades Employees’ Credit Union, as it delivers on its growth strategy. 

The boards of Fire Brigades Employees Credit Union (FBECU) and Teachers Mutual Bank have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on developing a mutually acceptable merger proposal, which will see the credit union merge under the mutual lender. The proposal will then require the approval of FBECU’s members.

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

FBECU general manager Jim O’Connell said that the decision had 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,”  said Jim O’Connell.

“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.”  

FBECU’s brand and role as a financial services provider dedicated to the NSW firefighting community will be retained in the merger. However, a new name will be required as a result of merging into a mutual bank.  

Teachers Mutual Bank CEO Steve James said the proposed merger with FBECU was a good opportunity for the mutual and supports the bank’s 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.

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

James confirmed that the Teachers Mutual brand, which is dedicated to 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,” James 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.