Our Community CPS credit union in the ACT is now proposing to merge with the largest credit union in South Australia, with the stated objective of creating a larger, and financially stronger, organisation. Is everyone happy about this?
I donâ€™t know about others, but I joined the CPS precisely because it was a local cooperative-type financial organisation. This means that Canberrans actually do have a say in what the organisation does, unlike the case with, say, banks that seem to do nothing but try to gouge the maximum profit out of customers. I have seen that complaints and CPS general meetings actually do have some (albeit limited) effect. For example, some fee increases that would have particularly affected lower-income members were modified, and the Community CPS did eventually act on membersâ€™ concerns by giving some rebates for fees for those with longer membership.
Once membership is distributed between the ACT and SA, with the AGM rotated between the two, it will be so easy for management to ignore both comunitities. Banks serve a constant reminder that, past a certain point, â€˜biggerâ€™ usually means less accountability to local communities.