Five credit unions are aiming to merge to get some bulk to compete better with mainstream banks.
The South, Central, Steelsands, Aotearoa and Baywide credit unions have about 300 staff and 75,000 members with more than $600 million in assets.
The chair of Baywide, Iain Taylor, said the merger would help create a bigger and better resourced entity to compete in mainstream banking.
"The scale of the larger credit union will deliver efficiencies, better pricing for savings and lending rates, and reach across the combined nationwide branch network and online."
"Scale does matter in an increasingly competitive financial sector and we all believe our united approach will bring a competitive banking alternative that is 100 percent customer and Kiwi owned," he said.
The merger has the nod from regulators but needs the approval of members, who completely own credit unions, and if that is given the merger could be completed in the first quarter next year.
Mr Taylor said the merger will also help the group scale up with investment in technology and services, and allow better pricing of loans and deposits.