CCU fighting Mackay move
By FRAZER PEARCE ? THE personal details of 13,000 Central Queenslanders are at the centre of a landmark legal battle between Rockhampton and Mackay lending institutions.
The Capricornia Credit Union has taken action to block the Mackay Permanent Building So- ciety from accessing the names and addresses of its 13,000 customers and members.
MPBS was set to make a hostile takeover bid for the CCU by contacting its members directly after gaining approval from the Australian Securities and Invest-ments Commission to acquire their details.
But Capricornia appealed against that ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) decision and the matter is set to be decided before the courts.
CCU chairman Ross Strelow yesterday said the board was forced to take legal action to defend the rights of its members.
"The role of the Capricornia Credit Union Board is to protect members, and so we are working very hard to prevent an outsider from gaining access to their personal information,'' he said.
"Mackay Permanent have walked in here and presumed to know what is best for the members of Capricornia Credit Union.
"What they have failed to understand is that Capricornia is a member-based credit union. It is owned by our members and is run to offer them better value and a more personalised service than they would receive elsewhere.''
Capricornia general manager Peter Mogg described the MPBS's actions as a "backdoor'' attempt to make a takeover bid after an informal offer by the MPBS, a listed company, was rejected by the Capricornia board last year.
He said if MPBS was successful in its effort to get personal details of members then customers could be "bombarded with offers every week''.
He said the board had assessed the 2004 Mackay offer as "grossly inadequate'' and if MPBS had any further offers to make it should do so through the board which had been elected to make decisions on behalf of members.
MPBS CEO Bob Neely yesterday said all his company intended to do with the names and adresses was to make an offer direct to Capricornia members.
"We think the members are the ones that have the right to determine the ownership of the credit union,'' he said. "We will be making them what we believe to be a very attractive offer.
"All we want to do is write to them. It doesn't go beyond that.''
He said Mackay had "high expectations'' that the Capricornia appeal to prevent release of customers names and addresses would not be upheld.
Details of the MPBS offer were not given to The Morning Bulletin yesterday.