Credit Union Members Better Off as Member-Owners

    Credit unions are committed to doing what is best for members, not
    private shareholders

    CALGARY, March 10 /CNW/ - "Western Financial Group's bid to take over
Community Savings and make it into a publicly traded bank is inconsistent with
credit union values," says Graham Wetter, President and CEO of Alberta
    From the point of view of Alberta Central, the provincial support service
organization for Alberta credit unions, the proposed takeover is not a good
fit with credit union principles and would not be in the best interest of the
credit union system in Alberta in general, or Community's member-owners.
    "Our system is founded on a very distinct set of values and principles,
which laid the groundwork for the formation of our system in Alberta almost 70
years ago," explains Wetter. "These still guide our operations today and
include profit distribution to members, democratic governance, responsible
corporate citizenship, support of our communities, and unrelenting focus on
people and service."
    He elaborates, "We are committed to doing what is best for our
member-owners, not a group of private shareholders. This is how we
differentiate ourselves, and this is why our members do business with us.
Banks operate according to a very different philosophy and corporate
structure, and are simply unable to deliver the credit union advantage to
their customers."
    Another important benefit for Alberta credit unions' members is a 100%
deposit guarantee, which is not available to bank customers.
    The High River-based Western Financial Group has issued a takeover bid
for Community Savings. Under the terms of the proposal, WFG would acquire
Community's assets and liabilities under WFG's wholly owned subsidiary Bank
    This expression of interest comes as Community's proposed merger with
Servus and Common Wealth credit unions goes for approval to membership
meetings of the three credit unions in mid-March.

    The Alberta credit union system is comprised of 48 credit unions and
Alberta Central. The system has $14.8 billion in assets, employs over 3,100
Albertans, and serves over 720,000 members through its 211 branches, a
Canada-wide network of automated teller machines and online banking. Credit
unions across Alberta are renowned for their community focus and responsible
corporate citizenship. Their community investment leadership manifests itself
through substantial financial backing to local initiatives, support of many
worthy causes and association, and countless volunteer hours donated by credit
union staff, management and board members to build strong and vibrant
communities. Alberta Promise Initiative, Community Councils, Care Wear
Program, no charge banking services for non-profit organizations, Forest
Stewardship Council, Goldeye Foundation and the United Way are examples of
only some of causes and initiatives that benefit from Alberta credit unions'

For further information:

For further information: Graham Wetter, President & CEO, Alberta
Central, @ (403) 258-5936

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Credit Union Central Alberta Limited

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