Hello and welcome to my first blog post. I can’t say that I’ve ever used a blog before, so this is a new experience for me.
I’m delighted to be Chief Executive of the new, merged credit union and I’m looking forward to the challenge of bringing together each of the two credit unions with over $3.5 billion each in assets under management and advice. It won’t be an easy job, but we have some fantastic staff working on the project and I’m sure the transition will take place with very little disruption to members.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank and farewell Greg Connor, the CEO of Savings & Loans, who started this blog and was a regular contributor.
Prior to my current position with our new organisation, I was Managing Director/Chief Executive at Australian Central for 9 years, and had been with the credit union for 22 years in total. I’m passionate about the principles of mutual banking and the benefits credit unions can bring to our members.
It’s been a big two weeks for everyone at Savings & Loans and Australian Central since our members approved the merger at our respective Annual General Meetings on 27 November (the merger legally took effect on 1 December). We’ve now started working on the huge project of integrating our two credit unions.
As we work through the integration, I know that we’ll learn a lot about the way each credit worked independently before the merger and focus on what worked most effectively. This means that we’ll be able to take the best of each credit union and provide members with improved products and services.
A good example is Savings & Loans’ eStatement service. Almost 15,000 members have signed up to eStatements and I’m sure this number will increase once all members of the new credit union have access to it. This is something I’ve been interested in implementing for some time, and I expect that we’ll be able to offer this to Australian Central’s members soon after the integration of our systems. There are many similar examples across both organisations, where we will be able to combine our knowledge for the best outcome for members.
We’re already expanding some of our community development programs to cater to the increased size of our new credit union. The Australian Central Community Lottery has more tickets available for community groups associated with Savings & Loans to sell this year, helping them share in over $1m to be raised through next year’s lottery.
As well as the merger project and our day-to-day operations, our staff and members have also been getting right into the festive spirit by helping those most in need at this time of year. This demonstrates the quality staff we have working for us. Despite the merger, they are still thinking about giving back to the community and doing their bit to help out during the festive season. Savings & Loans’ staff and members have been volunteering their time and donating presents to the Smith Family and Salvation Army, while Australian Central’s staff have been collecting presents and food to be distributed by United Way.
It’s fantastic to see our credit union community supporting others and it fills me with an enormous sense of pride. That’s exactly what credit unions are about and something our new credit union will continue well into the future.
It has been a big year for everyone involved with both Savings & Loans and Australian Central, with an even bigger year to follow. This time next year, I hope that we will have a new credit union under a new name, containing the best of both proud organisations.
I wish you and your families all the best over the festive break, and hope you have a prosperous new year.