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, maybe most importantly, 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?
Over the next couple of months, the boards of directors and management will work on a business case with the goal of completing it by November 2021. If the three boards approve the business case, they will recommend the proposed merger to their respective memberships and seek approval in the winter of 2022. There will be many opportunities for staff and member engagement, so please stay tuned for more information on timelines as we work through the process and refine further details.

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 will be provided information, progress updates, and continuous opportunities for Q & A and two-way dialogue.

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

Late 2021 / Early 2022
If the business case is approved by each credit union board of directors, each board will sign an amalgamation agreement and recommend the proposed merger to their memberships. Members will be notified that a vote will occur.

Winter 2022
Members vote on the proposed merger as outlined in the amalgamation agreement.

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 would consist of six board members from Access, three from Noventis, and three from Sunova. The remaining current board members would retire from their respective boards prior to the effective date of the new entity. Each board would undergo a process to determine which of their directors would move forward to the new credit union board.

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 in 2022. 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 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.

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.
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?
As we continue to build out our business case, we will do a thorough review of all credit union products and service plans. While the exact specifics of the products and services members will have access to will be finalized after the new organization is formed, 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.
I am currently a member of AcceleRate Financial / Hubert Financial for virtual banking services. What will happen to these divisions?
The combined credit union will have a collection of subsidiary operations, such as AcceleRate Financial and Hubert Financial. For now, it will be business as usual for each division. In the event of a positive member vote, we will evaluate the services currently offered through the virtual divisions to determine how to maintain a high quality of service for members.