As of Jan. 1, 2024, Interior Savings and Gulf & Fraser credit unions will be merging, creating the first province-wide credit union in B.C.
Between Oct. 20 and Nov. 6, the members of the two credit unions voted in favour of bringing the two organizations together. Interior Savings members voted 87.8 per cent in favour, while Gulf & Fraser members voted 80.7 per cent in favour. A minimum of 67 per cent, or two-thirds, of the votes cast from each credit union had to be in favour of the merger in order for it to go ahead.
Every vote cast counted towards a donation to support wildfire recovery efforts. Both credit unions are pleased to announce that, with more than 12,000 votes cast, their members helped raise $25,000 for the United Way’s United for BC Wildfire Recovery Fund.
The merger will create the first of its kind province-wide credit union in B.C.
“Together, we will be able to offer our members greater access to branches for personal, face-to-face service no matter where they live or travel in the province,” said Bill Kiss and Jeff Shewfelt, co-CEOs of Gulf & Fraser.
”We can also invest more resources to meet the needs of our members today and into the future who are looking for improved digital services, while offering improved training and career development opportunities for employees and increased investment in our communities.”
The combined credit union will operate under the legal name of Beem Credit Union, and branches will eventually be rebranded, although both existing credit unions will continue to operate under their existing names for 12 to 18 months.
The new credit union will provide a network of 55 branches and 14 insurance locations to approximately 160,000 members from the Lower Mainland, through to the Thompson-Okanagan and Boundary regions and up into Prince George and the North Peace and Northern Rockies regions. The combined total assets under administration will be approximately $10.1 billion.
Noting their common values and shared commitment to maintaining the personalized service, professional financial advice, and local community connection that has been the bedrock of each organization for over 80 years, merger talks between the two credit unions began in 2022. With unanimous approval from both boards of directors, a business case was filed in April 2023 with B.C.’s Financial Services Authority (BCFSA). In September, BCFSA gave consent to take the proposal to a member vote.
Brian Harris, CEO of Interior Savings and named CEO of Beem, said “We are grateful for our members’ continued confidence in us and look forward to what we will accomplish together, taking all that is great about our two credit unions and making it even better.”
Interior Savings is a member-owned, democratically controlled credit union dedicated to creating local money while helping to build vibrant communities. Through its 25 branches, 15 insurance offices, Member Service Centre, and two commercial service centres, Interior Savings offers personal and commercial banking and a full range of insurance and wealth management services to more than 90,000 members across the Thompson-Okanagan, Prince George, and North Peace regions.
Gulf & Fraser serves over 71,000 members and offers personal and commercial banking and a full range of insurance and wealth management services through its network of 28 branches spanning from downtown Vancouver through the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley into the Boundary region of B.C. in Grand Forks.