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Australian Cooperative Movement: Many Names, Common Mission

The World CU Conference heads Down Under to a hotbed of cooperative banking.

July 01, 2014
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Leaders Worldwide July 14

Industry leaders from Australia, the U.S., and Canada meet in Sydney to learn about Australia's system. World Council of CUs President/CEO Brian Branch (right) speaks to the group.

This month, credit union leaders from around the world head to Australia for the World Credit Union Conference.

The World Council of Credit Unions chose Gold Coast, Australia—a coastal city in southeastern Queensland on the country’s east coast—as this year’s spot where leaders will gather July 27-30 to share solutions to common global challenges.

Australia has a diverse cooperative financial institution sector.

Cooperative financial institutions go by many names, including credit unions, mutual building societies, mutual banks, cooperative banks, and friendly societies.

While the names vary, sometimes for branding reasons, these institutions share the common “customer-owned banking” principle. Furthermore, they rank high in customer satisfaction—a credit union trait found throughout the world.

Holiday Coast Credit Union’s tagline, “It is about the customer…always,” reflects the Australian movement’s strong focus on building relationships with customers and local communities.

The system—served by the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), a World Council member—numbers 83 credit unions, 10 mutual banks, and seven mutual building societies of all sizes, serving more than four million members.

Australasian Mutuals (AM) Institute, a new associate member of World Council in 2014, also serves the Australian movement.

The AM Institute provides sector education, networking, and professional development services—including the Emerging Leaders (EL) initiative, which aims to strengthen young executives’ skills through scholarships, workshops, and social media.

At this year’s conference, the EL initiative and the World Council Young Credit Union People scholarship program—which aims to promote and engage the next generation of credit union leaders in the international credit union movement—offer a combined program for conference participants age 40 and younger.

For more information about the conference, visit GoldCoast2014.org

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