Ben Woods, Assistant Archivist, Australian Mutuals History
In February 1970, the South Australian Police Association Credit Union Co-operative was established to provide credit and other financial services for South Australian police officers who at the time were poorly paid and had difficulty acquiring loans, according to current board member Peter Alexander.
In 1981, the name was changed to Police Credit Union and by the time it was profiled in Australian Credit Unions Magazine in 1987, its bond had broadened to include the NT Police Association, St John Ambulance Association (SA and NT), the Royal Australian Nursing Federation (SA Division), the SA Salaried Medical Officers’ Association and South Australian hospital staff.
Today, Police Credit Union has an open bond but they declare that “we still honour our police heritage with our Platinum package available for police, healthcare professionals such as nurses, as well as emergency services workers and firefighters”.
The above article in Australian Credit Unions Magazine noted that in 1972 the credit union had but 286 members and a maximum of $500 for personal loans. It went on to note that by 1986, “Police Credit Union found itself lending $2 million a month for purchases such as motor vehicles, home improvements, holidays, land and full debt consolidation up to $80,000 in one hit.”
In 1986, Australian Credit Unions Magazine celebrated Police Credit Union’s pioneering introduction of ATMs and ATM operation. PCU introduced the first ATM in South Australia in 1978 and in 1986 installed two 24 hour ATMs in their Carrington Street office in Adelaide.
A further article in 1995 celebrated PCU’s “25 Years of Service”. It noted that “Its membership is in excess of 25,000 with assets of almost $130m. Last year saw the introduction of motor vehicle leasing finance and hire purchase”.
Police Credit Union today has over “40,000 happy customers” according to their website. Australian Mutuals History holds extensive records detailing the history of Police Credit Union. This includes many magazine and news articles such as the ones referenced above along with annual reports going back to 1972, newsletters and photographs.
Australian Mutuals History was founded by the credit union movement and is an essential resource for research into the history of the Australian credit union and mutual banking movements. We provide access to the valuable archives we hold and assist those researching the history of the customer owned financial sector in Australia.
Below is a fantastic video produced by Police Credit Union celebrating their 50th anniversary.