Aldergrove Credit Union branch. (Aldergrove Star files)

Aldergrove Credit Union and G&F Financial Group announce plans to merge

CEO Gus K. Hartl said next steps, due diligence and a membership vote, could take up to half a year

Aldergrove Credit Union and G&F Financial Group have announced that they have engaged in merger discussions.

With a similar alignment on community, employee engagement, and development, board chairs commented that the merger of the two credit unions will enable a greater focus in all these areas, through scale and combined resources.

Aldergrove Credit Union CEO Gus K. Hartl said the partnership has long been in the works as both credit unions have built a real strong relationship over time.

“We’ve co-sponsored events like Langley RibFest,” Hartl noted. “G&F has been a longtime collaborator and you just get to a point when you are collaborating that you understand what works and who is leading the charge.”

Hartl said there will be no imminent changes because both credit unions face a reasonably lengthy process to officially carry out the merger.

“We’re really just at the beginning of this journey,” he said. “We have to do our due diligence now, so we’ll be really looking under each other’s hood and then writing up a business case to see if it make sense for us.”

The due diligence phase is expected to take four to six months before plans are put it to a membership vote and officially decided if the merger is something everyone wants to pursue.

“I really believe we will get to that step,” Hartl assured, estimating it will take place during the summer of 2021.

Bev Dornan, Aldergrove Credit Union board chair, said they look to partner with like-minded organizations who have a similar vision and shared values when it comes to the way we operate and engage with employees and members.

“The partnership with G&F Financial Group is a perfect match,” said Dornan.

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“Key factors we all considered were cultural fit and trust, which is very much aligned between our two organizations,” added Lewis Bublé, president and board chair of G&F Financial Group.

“By leveraging our collective strengths, we look forward to providing greater opportunities for employees and members alike,” Bublé said.

Aldergrove Credit Union was founded in 1954 by members of the Otter District Farmers Institute who looked to create a financial cooperative to help provide banking services to the local farmers.

Hartl assured there will be no changes to current member’s accounts, products, and other services, and said the main goal was to pool resources in order to offer enhanced services, technology, and accessibility.

He did acknowledge that in doing so, however, Aldergrove’s name could potentially be taken out of the title.

The combined organization could operate under the legal name Gulf and Fraser Fishermen’s Credit Union, though Aldergrove Financial could also be an option for local branches.

“We’re always aware of the risks with a transaction like this, but we are entrenched in other communities as well,” Hartl explained. “We might be losing our name, but we’re still here to support the community and give back more with even deeper pockets.”

Aldergrove Credit Union operates six branches in Langley, Mission and Abbotsford, and will be opening a new branch in Willoughby in just a few months.

With G&F Financial Group, the pair would provide a network of 24 branch locations and four insurance locations to a combined 52,000+ members spanning across the Lower Mainland.

Combined total assets under administration would be just under $4 billion.

“It will be a process over a couple of years to really meld everything together,” Hartl added. “The beauty of it is that we did not have to do this, we wanted to do it for the right reasons, which is to benefit our members, our staff, and our community.”

Hartl invited the community of Aldergrove to connect with the credit union or visit the frequently asked questions section at www.aldergrovecu.ca.

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