CUA has a long and proud history providing banking and financial services to Australians, growing out of several small Queensland based credit unions in the 1940s with just 180 members.
Since then, through the amalgamation of more than 160 credit unions, we have become Australia’s largest customer-owned financial institution, with more than 400,000 customers, over 900 employees and $9 billion in assets under management.
Our roots can be traced back to a few small credit unions in the 1940s including the Catholic Thrift and Loan Co-op in 1946, the Thrift and Loan Credit Union in 1948 and the Postal Workers Co-op Credit Society in 1949. From these humble beginnings rose several decades of mergers which saw each of these original credit unions ultimately become part of what is known today as CUA.
On 10 February 1966 staff of the General Post Office in Brisbane saw the opportunity for a change and established the Queensland Postal Cooperative Credit Union, which later changed its name to Credit Union Australia. Mergers with other credit unions mean that our true roots date back 20 years earlier.
Some of our initiatives in these early days included a field office (a caravan) to service regional centres and new products such as line of credit, term deposits and our own travel agency. Along the way, our original 180 customers swelled to 11,504.
The change in name to Credit Union Australia in 1980 welcomed new branch openings throughout Queensland – eventually totalling more than 30 locations. The beginning of our insurance division and financial planning services, together with new computer technologies and a landmark 24-hour ATM service all combined as we continued to change and grow for our 63,958 customers.
Australians’ way of life continued to gather speed and a new core banking system and 24-hour phone service helped us to keep pace. As we added home loans and the original CUA Kids Club to our growing list of products and services, we were recognised as Australia’s fifth largest credit union with 113,723 customers.
Our merger with CPS. Credit Society and Metropolitan Credit Union brought with it our first move to Victoria and New South Wales. But it was another merger with Australian National Credit Union which brought the biggest change and saw our rapid expansion throughout New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT.
After being named ‘Credit Union of the Year’ by the Australian Banking & Finance Awards for four consecutive years and amassing more than 380,000 customers, we had changed enough to become the largest credit union in Australia. This time of change was reflected in the adoption of our simplified name: CUA.
In December 2010 we finalised our merger with Plenty Community Credit Union which has helped to expand our footprint in Victoria and supports our commitment to growth. Member numbers have exceeded 400,000 and continue to grow.
In 2010 we were credited by the Federal Treasurer for bringing competition to Australian banking by dropping our Standard Variable home loan by 25 basis points outside of any official rate movement. That same year we were also named ‘Credit Union of the Year’ at the Your Mortgage Magazine Awards and the Australian Banking & Finance Awards. We also won these awards again in 2011 and are recognised as an Employer of Choice for Women.
As for the road ahead, well, it’s good to know there’s one thing that will never change. And that’s our core values. The thoughts, hopes and aspirations of our customers will continue to guide our every choice for the business.
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