Prospera Credit Union, headquartered in Abbotsford, and Westminster Savings Credit Union, based in Surrey, were given approval for a proposed merger in September 2019. (Google Street View)

Prospera Credit Union, headquartered in Abbotsford, and Westminster Savings Credit Union, based in Surrey, were given approval for a proposed merger in September 2019. (Google Street View)

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

Over 100 employees were laid off from Prospera Credit Union on Wednesday (May 20) – mere months after its historic merger with Westminster Savings Credit Union in January 2020.

The layoffs are the result of a “series of exceptional events,” including an economic downturn in early 2020, a significant drop in interest rates, a lack of turnover and the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Jeff McDonald, communications manager for Prospera Credit Union.

“Our plan was to take our time working through integration, taking advantage of natural attrition and turnover to reduce impacts on our valued employees,” McDonald said. “Prospera faced these same difficult circumstances, along with other financial institutions, with the added challenge of running largely in parallel, with inefficiencies, duplication and overlapping operations inherent in a large merger.”

Prospera Credit Union – headquartered in Abbotsford – and Surrey’s Westminster Savings Credit Union were given permission to merge by the B.C. Financial Institution Commission in September 2019, after 18 months of negotiations between the boards of directors.

Two-thirds of both memberships voted in favour of the deal in November, setting the way for the largest merger in Canadian history between credit unions.

The new organization became the sixth largest credit union in the country with $9.5 billion in managed assets, 120,000 members, 900 employees and 29 branches.

RELATED: Prospera and Westminster credit unions approved for proposed merger

Credit unions do not qualify for government assistance during the pandemic because they “measure profit and loss differently from most other organizations,” according to McDonald. He said that many credit unions have been lobbying for a change in the government’s qualifications for these subsidies.

McDonald said the joining of the two financial institutions was going to result in layoffs eventually, but the recent events hastened the need to cut “parallel operations, overlap, inefficiencies and duplication.”

“Prospera has made extensive efforts to… forestall the need to move ahead with staff reductions,” he said. “These include cutting costs across the organization, eliminating discretionary spending, holding and eliminating vacant positions, introducing a targeted retirement program, freezing wages and targeted compensation reductions.

“Sadly, as the impact of COVID-19 continues, these efforts were not enough to forestall the need for staff reductions.”

McDonald said the credit union was open with its employees about the need to make “tough decisions” following the merger, and let them know in early May that layoffs were a real possibility.

He said that each employee would will receive an extensive separation package, which includes severance, access to their employee and family assistance program, career transition support, and assistance accessing the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for Prospera and we deeply regret the impact this will have on employees and their families.”

A previous merger between the two financial institutions was called off in early 2015.

RELATED: Prospera secures $10,000 grant for Archway mental-health programs


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

abbotsfordSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

Cory Silbernagel makes his acceptance speech after receiving the Community Advocate award during the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce 2020 Chilliwack Champion awards on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce)
Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce awards recognize businesses, individuals after unprecedented year

‘Positive acts’ honoured during Business Excellence Awards - Chilliwack Champions Edition

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near Chilliwack secondary

Third high-school related assault Rob Iezzi’s cameras have captured since beginning of 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Most Read