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A mutual merger 4 years in the making now confirmed 

by Josh Needs12 minute read

First raised in 2019, the projected merger date will see the unified entity have almost $4 billion in combined assets and a network of 28 branches.

A merger of customer-owned lenders G&C Mutual Bank (G&C) and Unity Bank (Unity) has been confirmed by the two parties.

Founded in 1970 as the Waterside Workers’ of Australia Credit Union for maritime workers and their families, Unity Bank has evolved over the past 10 years having merged with eight other credit unions to have an asset base of $1.7 billion and 21 branches across Australia.

G&C Mutual Bank, meanwhile, was established 64 years ago as the Public Works Department Credit Union servicing public sector employees and has since grown and evolved through 18 mergers to now have seven branches with $1.7 billion in assets.


The banks first signed a memorandum of understanding in 2019, setting out an agreed timetable for the two organisations to merge in 2020. However, both organisations “resolved not to proceed with the merger at the time”, partly due to the onset of COVID-19.

However, the boards of both G&C and Unity have now signed a new memorandum of understanding.

The two companies flagged the merger as an “exciting opportunity to combine the strengths and proud histories of the two organisations in a ‘merger of equals’, which will allow [them] to offer improved products and services for [their] combined membership base”.

The banks confirmed there would be no branch closures resulting from the merger with all employees to be offered a role within the unified organisation.

The two mutuals stated their members would be able to vote on the proposed amalgamation in November 2024, after a formal review process and approval from APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority), with the merger to take effect shortly after.

The merged entity’s board will reportedly comprise an equal number of directors from Unity’s board and G&C’s board, with the initial chair to be from the joining G&C directors, while the inaugural deputy chair would be from the transferring Unity directors.

It was also confirmed that the current chief executive of Unity, Danny Pavisic, will become the initial CEO of the merged bank, with the CEO of G&C, Rosanna Argall, to become the deputy CEO, and then assume the long-term CEO role 12 months on from the effective merger date.

According to the two mutuals the name of the unified organisation will be Unity Bank.

Merging mutuals to continue

Ratings agency S&P Global Ratings said the combined entity of G&C and Unity Bank would be exposed to significant integration risks, even after the completion of the merger, proposed for March 2025.

“Similar to most mutual lenders in Australia, G&C and Unity Bank both engage predominantly in residential mortgage lending. We estimate that the combined entity would maintain a very strong risk-adjusted capital ratio above 15 per cent,” it said.

S&P has also forecast that more mutual lenders will look to merge to seek “greater scale for the combined entity, supporting business sustainability”.

It said: “We believe mutual lenders in Australia will continue to use mergers as a way of managing increased demands for technology investment and cost management through improved economies of scale.”

The unification of G&C and Unity has followed several other mutual bank mergers this year.

Beyond Bank and First Choice Credit Union (FCCU) last week signed a memorandum of understanding to merge, which will see FCCU become part of Beyond Bank’s network.

Earlier this year both Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent merged to form Newcastle Greater Mutual Group Ltd (NGM Group), however, the newly merged group revealed it would continue with a multibrand strategy with both Greater Bank and Newcastle Permanent remaining as separate entities.

Heritage Bank and People’s Choice Credit Union also merged this year to create a national member-owned banking organisation with 720,000 members and $23 billion in assets.

After the merger, the newly united mutual bank Heritage and People’s Choice secured its first-ever residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS) issuance, priced at $1 billion.

[Related: 2 more mutuals announce intention to merge]

rosanna argall danny pavisic ta tinvu


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