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Australian CUs look to build scale through mergers
CANBERRA, Australia (11/19/09)--Australia’s $43 billion credit union industry is experiencing increasing pressure to build economies of scale through mergers, as a result of competition for deposits significantly reducing interest margins in 2009, analysts said. The industry had shown resilience in a challenging year, according to KPMG’s annual survey of Australian credit unions and building societies (The Australian Nov. 18). A lack of alternative funding sources has led to intense competition for deposits that has slashed the net interest margin for credit unions by 42 basis points--to 2.49% from 2.91%, the newspaper said. “This, combined with the ever-increasing regulatory burden facing all mutuals, has contributed to the business case for mergers, said Martin McGrath, KPMG financial services partner. However, Australian credit unions need to be thoughtful about merger partners because part of credit unions’ appeal is the long-term relationship they have with their members, McGrath added (The Advertiser Nov. 18). “Not every merger is a good merger,” he said. “A good merger is one where you can create some efficiencies, but still maintain that long-term bond.”


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