United Communities Credit Union and Libro Financial Group Choose New Path by Announcing Merger Intent

New $3 Billion organization will focus on investing in the future of southwestern Ontario

LONDON/ESSEX, ON, June 5, 2013 /CNW/ - The Boards of Directors of United Communities Credit Union and Libro Financial Group, two of this region's most successful co-operative financial institutions, are pleased to announce their intention to merge. The outcome will be a credit union with the strategic will, skills and capacity to help the families, businesses, farms and communities of Southwestern Ontario secure a more prosperous future.

"We're all seeking a new path in this part of Ontario," says Libro CEO Steve Bolton. "This announcement means United Communities and Libro have started their journey. We want to invest more here. We want Southwestern Ontario to be the focal point of world-class financial thinking. We want to attract and support great ideas, and give our people the best tools for the job. This merger will create the capacity to make that happen."

As credit unions, the merger must be member-ratified before it goes forward. By early September, the Boards of both credit unions will make separate recommendations to their respective member-owner voting bodies.  These recommendations are subject to approval by member-owners at a series of special general meetings held by each credit union, anticipated in late fall. The proposed effective date is December 31, 2013 with full integration to follow in 2014.

"We're two credit unions who have been co-operative neighbours and successful in our respective markets," said United Communities Board Chair Dennis Hogan. "We're starting on the same page, we share the same values. This harmony will help us reach our objectives that much faster."

Libro Board Chair, Rick Joyal, concurs: "As one organization, our investments in human and financial resources will go further toward our greater vision of being the very best cooperative financial institution. This is where we all live, work and play, making our focus here that much more important."

The new, merged credit union will operate 27 branches, employ 556 staff in 21 communities, and serve over 95,000 member-owners who hold $3 Billion in assets under administration. No staff will lose employment and no retail branches will close as a result of the merger.  The new credit union's head office will be in London. There will be a regional office in Essex, as well as some specialty positions in other locations.

"It's a perfect fit," says Jim Lynn, United Communities CEO. "There are no overlaps, meaning this merger can happen with room for everyone. When our Boards, Steve and I first sat down, it became apparent very quickly that United Communities and Libro shared a common destiny."

Libro's Steve Bolton will serve as President and CEO of the new credit union while Jim Lynn will stay close by to ensure a smooth transition.  Jim continues, "It was originally my intent to retire in 2012; however, with the current economic climate and as the potential for merger developed, I postponed my plans. I feel confident Steve and the rest of the management team are poised for success and will retain the values upon which this credit union was formed."

"We'll select a name that honours both credit unions while positioning it for a strong future," concludes Bolton. "We'll remain focused on our communities, service excellence and our unique brand of coaching. But we also know the world and financial services are changing fast. We want to manage the best of those changes right here. We want to compete with the world from here. We want our members, and the two million people nearby who haven't met us yet, to benefit from having a world-class financial institution in Southwestern Ontario that is focused solely on their well-being."

About Libro Financial Group - Libro Financial Group is Southwestern Ontario's full-service credit union operated by a community of owners and open to everyone. With 59,000 owners and $2.2 billion in assets under administration, Libro delivers a full range of chequing, savings, investment, RRSP, insurance and loan products along with financial coaching and advice for consumers, and farm and business owners. Libro has been operating for over 60 years and has 16 branches in southwestern Ontario. Owners have access to a surcharge-free network of 2,400 ATMs across Canada. For more information, see libro.ca

About United Communities Credit Union - United Communities Credit Union is one of Ontario's largest credit unions, with 11 branches and more than 36,000 members throughout Southwestern Ontario.  United Communities has been enriching members' lives through the achievement of their financial success and the betterment of communities for 70 years.  With nearly $800 million in assets under administration, United Communities offers a full range of products and services including online and mobile banking, borrowing limits over $10 million and a full range of investment services for personal, commercial and agricultural members.  For more information, visit myunited.ca

Image with caption: "Jim Lynn, President & CEO, United Communities Credit Union (left), and Stephen Bolton, President & CEO, Libro Financial Group (right), announce their intention to merge the co-operative financial institutions. (CNW Group/Libro Financial Group)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130605_C5247_PHOTO_EN_27563.jpg

SOURCE: Libro Financial Group

For further information:

visit better2best.ca, or to set-up an interview, please contact:

Tina Romano 
Communications Manager 
Libro Financial Group 
P: 519-672-0130 x4408 
C: 519-200-5279 
tina.romano@libro.ca 

Liz Arkinstall
Manager, Community Relations
United Communities Credit Union
P: 519-776-2038
C: 519-984-7599
liz.arkinstall@myunited.ca

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Libro Financial Group

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