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Connexus : Issue 42
ORANGE CREDIT UNION Community support is key For the $145 million Orange Credit Union, the fnancial landscape in NSW’s central west is a crowded one. All the major banks have branches in Orange, along with seven other fnancial institutions. On the plus side, the 16,000-member credit union has enjoyed links to the community since 1964 and operates in the postcode with the highest number of mutual members in Australia. It's an environment that makes supporting the community key to the credit union’s brand. Over the past fve years it has built a local support program, which provides small grants to 150 community groups including sporting clubs, schools, medical ser vices and welfare groups. "We advertise to the whole community through the newspaper and on our website for a month, calling for applications, so it's good promotion for our business as well," says general manager Paul McNamara. Still, there can be a potential downside to being a local institution in regional Australia, particularly in challenging times such as during the counterfeit credit card fraud and the change in ATM/ Eftpos processing last year. In those situations, says McNamara, the credit union needs to be very informative with the local community. "We must be sympathetic to the impact on individual members. We share the local community with our members on a daily basis and they know where our directors, managers and staff live. They demand, and are entitled to, clear answers when there is a problem.” On the human resources front, a skills drift to Orange -- driven by the arrival of the Newcrest gold mine and the opening of a new base hospital and a dental school at Charles Sturt University -- means recruiting people to the staff of 38 is rarely a problem. Christine Long is a freelance writer. We share the local community with our members... they know where our directors, managers and sta live. Paul McNamara, general manager, Orange Credit Union Orange Credit Union provides small grants to 150 community groups. NEWS 24 Connexus