Lascelles, Nestle credit unions merge to form billion-dollar outfit
The Lacelles Employees & Partners Co-operative Credit Union (LEPCCU) and the Nestle Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union (NJCCU) have combined their operations.
The 'transfer of engagement' from NJCCU to Lascelles was approved on September 30.
The merged business will continue to operate as Lascelles Employees & Partners from two branches - the head office in Kingston and the other at the Bybrook Condensery in Bog Walk, St Catherine.
General Manager of LEPCCU Sherie Nash-Seymour told the Financial Gleaner that the entities merged "to benefit from an increased capital and asset base, economies of scale, to address regulatory challenges and to widen the membership base".
She said the credit unions' bond has been opened to include a much wider cross section of past and present members from companies aligned with J. Wray & Nephew Limited.
Under the merger, the union now holds assets of $1.05 billion, to which Nestle contributed $107 million. Its loan book is valued at $740 million, less than a tenth or $62 million of which was contributed by Nestle.
The staff and management teams remain intact.
"Prior to the merger, Nestle operated with a very small staff complement, which will be transitioned accordingly," Nash-Seymour said
She said the merger makes available to all members - including previous members of Nestle Jamaica Credit Union - a wider cross section of products and services that includes online banking, high-yielding investments and more affordable loans".
That was echoed by treasurer of Nestle, Richard Hutchinson.
"This would also include former members, who were not able to maintain their membership status as a result of discontinued employment with Nestle, being able to renew their status as members under the merged entity," Hutchinson said via email.
Nestle's service was predominantly geared towards Nestle Jamaica employees, but last year, the Swiss-owned company sold its production operations to Musson Jamaica.
Lascelles Employees & Partners catered to mainly employees of the Lascelles deMercado group, which was renamed J. Wray & Nephew Limited after its acquisition by Campari Group of Italy in 2012. The new bond will cater to core employees as well as industry members.
The merged entity has approximately 5,000 members, of which Nestle contributed 200.
Nash-Seymour said there are no immediate plans to rebrand, although she noted, "the possibility does exist that rebranding may occur as the entity continues to grow from its operations or through other mergers.
Lascelles Employees & Partners will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in September 2018, while Nestle turned 60 this year.
"Combined, we have more than 100 years of experience in service to offer our membership," the general manager said.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the name of the treasurer for the Nestle Jamaica Credit Union to Richard Hutchinson. Also the merged credit union is located next door to Wray & Newphew, not on the same complex.