Ben Woods, Assistant Archivist, Australian Mutuals History
The story of Dependable Credit Union is another of a credit union that began as a financial service for employees of a particular workplace that later expanded into a community credit union. In this case workers at ICIANZ Ltd in Botany, NSW, a chemical factory, a steering committee was formed in May 1960 with the goal of forming a credit union for workers there. An information meeting for staff was held which included the dissemination of a paper on credit union philosophy and the basics of credit union management.
ICIANZ agreed up front that subscriptions and loan repayments could be deducted from salaries. This made it easier for the credit union to get off the ground and with that The ICIANZ Employees’ Credit Union Co-operative Ltd was registered on 7 July 1960 with membership open to all ICIANZ employees. The initial HQ was at 16-20 Beauchamp Road, Matraville, with the administration of the credit union conducted by volunteers in the early years.
In its first year of operation there were 172 members and 99 loans were made. By August 1963 a credit union office had been fitted out with enlarged systems that included addressograph plates and history data cards. On 12 January 1965 the credit union was re-named ICIANZ Employees’ Credit Union Ltd. By January 1967 the credit union moved to the former Training Centre Hut at the rear of the old administration building.
In 1968 the business was renamed Matraville Credit Union. That same year Noel Bain commenced as the credit union’s first full time manager and he worked with two other employees. In 1980, the credit union’s records were transferred to Financial Computing Services’ Prime On-Line Computer System. The next major step came the following year when the NSW Government authorised the credit union to extend membership to people who live or work in the Municipality of Botany or the Central or South wards of the Municipality of Randwick.
Finally, in 1984 the credit union was re-branded Dependable Credit Union and a new office was opened in Maroubra. Dependable Credit Union continued to trade until 2002 when it transferred engagements to Members Australia Credit Union.
A small piece in Credit Union Quest newspaper in February 1969 regarding Matraville Credit Union, illustrates both the achievements of Matraville CU and the important part credit unions have played in Australian history. The piece titled “Knocked Back by a Bank” quotes Stan Watterson from Matraville CU. Highlighting the importance of credit unions for “the average person”, Watterson notes:
“Only this morning I had a chap in the office who tried to borrow money from a bank to complete a house he was building himself. They said they would loan him money only after the house was completed. He joined the credit union and we agreed to lend him $2000 and keep lending more as he repays the loan”.