Merger of Credit Unions Good for Rural and Urban Manitoba

MANITOBA: April 17, 2024 – A merger of two of Manitoba’s leading credit unions and a caisse will be better for rural and urban members, agricultural businesses, and communities, say the Boards of Directors and leaders of Westoba Credit Union, Caisse Financial Group and Assiniboine Credit Union. Today, they recommend members and employees vote “Yes and Oui” this June to a merger that could take effect January 1, 2025.

“The merged credit union would have wider geographic coverage, be able to offer a greater suite of products, have a larger scale of funding for agricultural and commercial businesses, and an ability to provide better service with access to more employees with broader and more specialized skills,” says Garnet McBurney, Board Chair of Westoba Credit Union.

“This merger would give us the capacity and scale to create a unique credit union that has a larger network of employees who are excited to make a difference in the rural and urban communities we serve as active volunteers. It will create more diverse career opportunities for our employees, who are our greatest strength. We are doing what we always do best, working cooperatively for what’s best for our members, employees, and communities. It’s who we are,” adds Garnet McBurney.

Réal Déquier, Board Chair of Caisse Financial Group adds that what their members value at their rural caisse will remain the same.

“Decisions on loans will still be made locally with experts that understand your business and your community. In fact, this will enhance financing opportunities as with greater scale comes greater capacity to finance the needs of our members. A merged entity with $10 billion in assets will be much more capable of meeting our business members’ needs now and into the future,” Déquier said.

The commitment to rural communities is also reflected in the proposed board composition of the new entity. The merged credit union would be governed by a 12-member board, which includes six members from Assiniboine and three each from Caisse and Westoba. Future elections will be held on an at-large basis, ensuring a minimum of two directors who meet its definition of a rural individual and a minimum of two directors who meet the entity’s definition of a Francophone individual.

“Credit unions are financial co-operatives with democratic elections for the board of directors, where members decide who best represents their interests,” says Crystal Laborero, Board Chair of Assiniboine Credit Union.

“There could be a day where a majority of the board represents rural Manitoba if that’s how members vote. We know this merger greatly enhances our ability to meet the financial needs and service preferences of our members, employees, and communities today and into the future,” Laborero added.

If approved by members, the merged organization would be the only purpose-driven financial co-operative in the province to carry a French and English name. Assiniboine Credit Union / Caisse Assiniboine allows either the English version or the French version to be used in serving the broad base of urban, rural, and agricultural communities in Manitoba.

Following a thorough selection process, all three boards have unanimously recommended current Assiniboine President & CEO Kevin Sitka as President & CEO of the new organization. Caisse CEO Joël Rondeau and Westoba President & CEO Jim Rediger will continue in leadership roles to support the post-merger entity.

Some of the key pressures on financial institutions like credit unions include significant investments necessary for digital banking advancements, growing regulatory requirements, increased competitive pressures from outside the market, and the need to spend more on increasingly complex cybersecurity measures to protect members. All require investments that are hard to sustain for one credit union on its own. To keep pace with the needs and wants of its members, it is imperative to merge now as strong partners.

The Boards of Directors and leadership of all three credit unions recommend its 970 employees and 216,000 members vote in favour of the merger this June. If the proposed merger is approved, the new entity could take effect January 1, 2025.

For the press release highlighting the changing financial services landscape that makes the merger imperative see NEWS at

For the press release highlighting the new entity’s commitment to the French-language services see NEWS at


About Assiniboine Credit Union

ACU is a financial co-operative in Manitoba with branches in Winnipeg, Thompson, and Gillam and more than $6 billion in assets. As a Certified B Corp, ACU serves its members on Treaty 1 and Treaty 5 lands, located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Red River Métis Nation.

ACU uses its expertise and resources to foster self-reliant and sustainable communities, while taking care to consider the impact of business decisions on employees, members, the environment, and the communities it serves. For more information, visit

About Caisse Financial Group

Caisse Financial Group has over $2 billion in assets and 19 branches across Manitoba, serving more than 35,000 members with bilingual products and services. Caisse was the first officially registered co-operative in the province in 1937.

Caisse is a bilingual financial institution that offers financial products and services for every phase of life. Caisse’s mission is to meet its members’ evolving financial needs and invest in the well-being of its communities. The following core values support Caisse’s mission: Respect for Individuals, Integrity and Transparency, Innovation, and Community Involvement. For more information, visit

About Westoba Credit Union

Founded in 1963, Westoba Credit Union is a 60-year-old financial institution with $1.5 billion in assets. Proudly headquartered in Brandon, Manitoba, Westoba has a hybrid workforce with nearly half of its employees working remotely.

Committed to meeting the diverse needs of its 41,000 members, Westoba extends its reach through 13 physical branches that reach from The Pas to Cartwright and a virtual team that ensures accessible and convenient financial solutions for all members.

Westoba believes in staying connected and engaged, and empowering people and communities to thrive. For more information, visit

For more information:

Dean Beleyowski

Assiniboine Credit Union

Sylvie Laurencelle

Caisse Financial Group

Matt Worobec

Westoba Credit Union

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