EDMONTON, Alberta (2/12/08)--Three of the four largest credit unions in Alberta, Canada, are proposing a three-way merger that, if successful, would produce an $8.5 billion asset credit union (The Edmonton Journal Feb. 9). Servus Credit and Common Wealth Credit, both credit unions in Edmonton, and Community Savings, a credit union in Red Deer, said Friday talks are underway and they could call for a membership vote on the proposal as early as March. The combined credit union would have 357,000 members, 1,825 employees and 95 branches. The fourth large Alberta credit union, First Calgary Savings, with 100,000 members and assets of $1.9 billion, has declined to join the proposed merger. Canada's largest credit union is the $12.3 billion asset Vancouver City Savings in Vancouver, British Columbia. It has 2,300 employees and 57 branches. Contributing to the merger plan is potential competition with VanCity and other British Columbia credit unions under a provincial free-trade agreement between British Columbia and Alberta. The agreement will take effect in April, 2009. British Columbia-based credit unions have competitive advantages because they can operate with less capital and go into fields denied to Alberta credit unions--such as insurance brokerages, reported the article.