Questions & Answers

If you have a question about the merger or how it affects you, please check the following questions to see if it has already been answered.

You may also download or print our PDF of frequently asked questions.

If you don’t see your question answered on this page, please contact us to let us know.

Merger

Why are these credit unions exploring the possibility of merging?
While Access, Noventis, and Sunova are all financially strong, the boards of directors from each credit union recognize that ongoing change and evolution is necessary to ensure continued growth, in addition to maintaining value for members in an increasingly competitive and regulated environment.

All three organizations have identified mergers as a key strategic objective for long-term success and sustainability, and share similar values when it comes to people and our communities.

Bringing three mature credit unions together is a testament to the strength of the partners and their commitment toward collaboration and a shared vision for the future.
Why merge? Isn’t Noventis / Access / Sunova already making enough profit?
As costs of business increase, fewer resources can be dedicated to products and services that are important to employees, members, and our communities. By bringing together strong organizations, we can increase those investments while eliminating any duplication of business expenses that may have been restrictive previously. A great example would be technology that organizations would have had to purchase individually. With one organization, buying power is increased and there’s no duplicated expense.
When did the three credit unions begin discussions?
Preliminary discussions began in January 2021 as a simple invitation to explore whether there would be interest in merging. Once each board determined there was interest, and after initial discussions provided a collaborative and positive business overview, we made these discussions public.
What are the timelines?
Since announcing that merger discussions were underway in September 2021, a detailed business case has been prepared, which all three boards of directors reviewed and approved at the end of November. As a result, the boards are now recommending the proposed merger to their respective memberships and will seek approval during the member vote at the end of January 2022.

January 2021
The Boards of Directors from all three credit unions began discussions and conducted initial reviews for a potential merger between our organizations.

September 2021
Public announcement that the three credit unions are in merger discussions.

September 2021 to November 2021
Members, staff, and our communities have been provided information, progress updates, and continuous opportunities for Q & A and two-way dialogue.

November 2021
The finalized business case was presented to each credit union board for review and approval.

December 16, 2021
As a result of the approved business case, each board signed an amalgamation agreement and are recommending the proposed merger to their memberships. Members are notified that a vote will occur.

January 10, 2022
Access Credit Union Member Forum, via Zoom
Pre-registration

January 11, 2022
Noventis Credit Union
Member Forum, via Cisco Webex
Registration link coming soon.

January 12, 2022
Access Credit Union Member Forum, via Zoom
Pre-registration

January 18, 2022
Sunova Credit Union Member Forum, via Zoom
Pre-registration

January 25-27, 2022
Members vote on the merger as outlined in the amalgamation agreement.

January 27, 2022
Each credit union will hold a Special Meeting of Members. Voting will end during the meeting with results announced prior to adjournment.

Prior to July 1, 2022
Approval from regulators and Competition Bureau.

July 1, 2022
The journey as the new Access Credit Union begins!
Have you decided what the name of the new credit union would be?
All three credit unions are well-respected and well-known organizations in their operating areas. After much discussion, all three boards identified the strength of the Access name and the applicability and relevance of their brand when reflecting on the mission, purpose, and shared values for all organizations.

Each partner believes in providing opportunities for all members to achieve their financial goals and delivering accessible services that best meet those needs. And, while we will adopt the Access name, we are confident that many attributes of the Sunova and Noventis brands will integrate well into the brand for the ‘new’ Access, and the best elements of our respective cultures will live on as part of the new organization.
How will the new board be determined?
The inaugural board of directors for the new credit union will consist of six board members from Access, three from Noventis, and three from Sunova, and the remaining current board members would retire from their respective boards prior to the effective date of the new entity.

Should the members vote to approve the merger in January, the board for the new Access Credit Union would be:

Kevin Beresford (Sunova)
Ken Braun (Access)
Catherine Burns (Access)
Paul Cuthbert (Noventis)
Justin Evenden (Sunova)
Curtis Letkeman (Access)
Lesli Malegus (Sunova)
Jamison Masse (Noventis)
Marlene Michno (Noventis)
Jim Neufeld (Access)
Randy Schartner (Access)
Sherry Woods (Access)
Why change things that are working well?
When the boards of each credit union made the decision to proceed with developing a business case for the merger, they had three primary audiences in mind: our staff, our members, and our communities.

With our members in mind, an even stronger credit union will achieve greater efficiencies and long-term financial resilience by eliminating duplicated costs and taking advantage of more economies of scale. This will allow for continued investments in technology and enhanced service experiences, competitive rates, and the potential for a strong patronage program for our members.

While things are going well for each of the three credit unions today, this is also about planning for ‘tomorrow’ and ensuring sustainability and longevity for our members, our staff, and our communities in the years to come.
What happens if not all credit unions vote yes to the merger?
In the event that members of one of the credit unions vote ‘no’, the remaining credit unions will move forward with the merger provided that Access is one of the partners.

merge vote results
Why is electronic voting the only means to vote?
Given the importance of this decision for our credit unions, the boards wanted to provide a method that would increase member engagement for the vote. By providing electronic voting from January 25-27, 2022, more members will be able to participate in this important decision. Any members who may need some assistance with voting electronically will be able to visit our branches during regular operating hours during the January 25-27 voting period.
Are there costs for this proposed merger?
There will be some merger and integration costs, most of which will be one-time costs. Some of these costs will include application to the competition bureau, legal, and systems integration. These costs will be short term and the new combined credit union will experience large savings over the years that results in positive financial benefit to reinvest in our members, employees, and the community. Some examples of savings include:
  • Future fixed costs per legacy credit union will be paid once by the new credit union resulting in immediate savings (e.g., implementation costs for new technologies such as Consumer Directed Finance and Payments Modernization);
  • Reduced costs with volume discounts due to the size and scale of the new credit union;
  • Maximizing the talent from each organization and reducing the need for each credit union to invest separately in the required specialized skill sets;
  • Eliminating redundant services and duplicated processes resulting in more savings and efficiencies.

Operations

Who would lead the new organization?
As is the case in mergers, the senior-level structure forms part of the overall discussions and plans. Often the CEO decision is not determined until the business case phase; however, we had a unique opportunity to determine this decision early on. Ed Bergen, President and CEO of Sunova Credit Union, had previously informed the Sunova board of his intentions to retire. Ed has committed to continue to lead Sunova through the merger process and would plan to retire in the summer of 2022. Kevin McKnight, CEO of Noventis Credit Union would transition to a new role in the new organization and continue to lead Noventis through the merger process. Larry Davey, President & CEO of Access Credit Union, would become President & CEO of the new entity.
What will happen to my branch?
Like any business, we will regularly review our operations and evaluate our combined branches to ensure that we continue to be accessible and are meeting the needs of our members.
Is my money safe?
All three organizations are in very strong financial positions and pose no risks to their members’ funds.
Where will the head office and executive team be located?
All current corporate office and support headquarters locations will be maintained and used as ‘home base’ options for the executive team, alongside other flexible work options thanks to the use of technology. For legal purposes, our official head office will be the location of the Corporate Secretary.
What will happen to the community programs that the credit unions are currently involved in?
Each board recognizes the importance of community investment and involvement, and Each board recognizes the importance of community investment and involvement, and supporting the ongoing sustainability and health of our communities. We believe there will be an opportunity to expand on the work that is already being done to have an even greater impact on the communities we are a part of.
Will there be layoffs as a result of the merger?
All employees are guaranteed positions with the new organization; however, some roles may change, retirements will occur and some positions may be added. With an organization this size, there will likely be additional opportunities that require more in-depth knowledge or specialization in order to serve members and internal staff effectively. We will work together to maximize training and development initiatives and to support any new career paths and opportunities.
Will I still be able to call my local branch?
While each credit union has a dedicated contact centre for member support, those members who currently appreciate the ability to directly contact their local branches will be able to continue to do so post-merger.
Will the banking system change?
It was decided that the core banking system for the new organization will be the current system used by both Access and Noventis, resulting in minimal impact for the membership at those two credit unions. To ensure as smooth a transition as possible for Sunova members, it’s likely the conversion will not take place until 2023 at the earliest, and, training and member communication will be prioritized throughout the process to ensure a smooth transition for all.

With all three credit unions eventually moving to the same banking system, even greater efficiencies will be realized allowing for continued investment into product and service research and development, all with the intent of meeting and exceeding the expectations of our membership.
What online and mobile banking platform will be used?
It was decided that the integrated website, online, and mobile banking platform for the potential new organization will be Xpress. This is the same system Access converted to in June and was planned for Noventis integration in 2022. To ensure as smooth a transition as possible, members of both Noventis and Sunova would likely migrate to this new system during the banking system conversion in either late 2022 or early 2023. Training and member communication will be prioritized to ensure both staff and members are prepared for this transition.

Membership & Services

Will the new credit union pay patronage to the members?
While numerous details are still being worked out, it is agreed that the proposed new organization will focus on maximizing the ability to pay patronage to members, due in part to our values and a common belief that our members should share in our profits and be rewarded for their loyalty. Existing share or patronage programs will remain in place until after the potential merger on July 1, with further analysis to be completed at that time. The end goal would be to offer a competitive program that will satisfy the needs of our combined membership and reward them for their loyalty.
Will the proposed merger impact the service I receive?
The same great service you experience today will not change as a result of this proposed merger, and the size of the organization has no impact on the smiling faces you see!

While you can continue to deal with the branch or staff you’re most comfortable with, you’ll also have access to an even larger branch network when needed. So, if you need to visit a branch while at the lake, our Interlake or Eastern branches will be there to help. Or, if you are in Winnipeg and need to stop by a branch, there will be multiple locations for your convenience. (And, you just might meet some new smiling faces along the way!) Our hope is that with our increased resources, we will be able to provide even more training opportunities and support for our extended frontline team.
Will my account number have to change?
At this point, it remains business as usual for all members. There will be many options to consider relating to our banking systems if the merger moves forward; however, ensuring minimal disruption to our membership will always be a top priority. We will provide updates as we know more.
Will products and services change?
While the exact specifics of the products and services, such as rates, fees, and account packages will be finalized after the new organization is formed, this will be an important initiative as we move forward. There’s no doubt that the commitment to our membership and their banking experience is top of mind and one of the key drivers of this proposed collaboration.
Will my account product change?
At this point we don’t have the specifics of what the account and service plan offering would look like for the new organization; however, all existing accounts and products would move forward, safely and securely. And, when the time comes, members would be provided the option to move into the accounts or service plans that best suit their needs.

Our commitment to our membership and desire to provide an optimal banking experience remains top of mind and is one of the key drivers of this proposed collaboration. So, while we don’t yet have all the answers, we are confident that ensuring our members have access to competitive products, services, and rates will continue to be of the utmost importance.
What if I have an account at two or more of the participating credit unions? What will happen to my accounts?
All of your accounts, regardless of the incumbent credit union, will transition to the new banking system. As we work through the integration process, we will provide our members with updates informing them of any changes to their account, what their options are in the new credit union, and how accounts will be accessed.


Other Services

 

 

I am currently a member of AcceleRate Financial / Hubert Financial for virtual banking services. What will happen to these divisions?
If the respective memberships vote in favour of the merger, the two online divisions, Hubert and AcceleRate, would continue to operate as they do today. Any decisions about the blending of those two online divisions, or the other subsidiaries operated by all three credit unions, will be made after the official merge date in July 2022.

 

As we continue to work through the process, we will complete a thorough review of all products and service plans available at each credit union, and the same would be done for the online divisions at a later point in time. While the exact specifics of the products, services, and rates members will have access to will be finalized after the new organization is formed, the commitment to our membership and desire to provide an optimal banking experience is top of mind and one of the key drivers of this proposed collaboration.

Identifying and embracing best practices will be prioritized throughout the merger process, with the ultimate goal of continually improving operations and offerings to provide members with the very best products, services, and online / in-branch banking experiences.

Will the deposit guarantee be impacted by the merger?
If the merger is approved by our respective memberships at the end of January, all member deposits will continue to be protected and 100% guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.