$14M for the Traditional Credit Union

Friday, 9 July 2010

The Traditional Credit Union (TCU) and National Australia Bank (NAB) today welcomed the decision by Federal Government to provide $14 million from the Aboriginal Benefits Account (ABA) to expand the TCU’s branch network throughout the Northern Territory.

This five year funding commitment will enable the TCU to open new branches in 11 remote Indigenous communities and provide 9,200 Aboriginal people with face to face banking. It will also enable 330 Aboriginal people to complete Certificate 2 and 3 in Financial Services and create 39 jobs in these new branches.

An additional $1.25 million and access to not-for-profit microfinance products and services will be provided by NAB. Since 2007, NAB has worked closely with the TCU and seen first hand the important services they are delivering in remote Aboriginal communities throughout Arnhem Land.

TCU Chairman and Gapuwiyak resident Micky Wunungmurra said that the TCU currently had 11 branches in remote areas of the Northern Territory and more than 6,500 members.

“We’re confident that after 16 years of success our banking model works. The ABA funding will allow us to grow and continue to provide an important community service at the same time,” Mr Wunungmurra said.

NAB General Manager, Community and Corporate Responsibility, Tim O’Leary said that the funding recognises the TCU’s expertise in delivering face to face banking in remote Aboriginal communities and NAB’s experience in delivering microfinance products to Australian’s living on low incomes.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the TCU and learn more about banking in remote communities,” Mr. O’Leary said.

The Traditional Credit Union - background

The Traditional Credit Union (TCU) was developed by a group of Aboriginal Elders to provide financial services to residents of Arnhem Land communities who were disadvantaged by a lack of banking and other financial services.

Credit unions operate through principles founded in the philosophy of cooperation and the values of equality, equity and mutual self-help. Unlike other financial institutions, these principles focus on both the social and economic well-being of their members and the communities they serve.

TCU was incorporated as a credit union on 5 December 1994. Since its inception, the TCU has grown to include eleven (11) branches in the remote Territory communities as shown below with an additional combined branch/Head Office located in Casuarina (Darwin).

Existing branch network

  • Milingimbi
  • Maningrida
  • Gunbalanya
  • Galiwinku
  • Wadeye
  • Ngukurr
  • Gapuwiyak
  • Minyerri
  • Numbulwar
  • Ramingining
  • Warruwi
  • Darwin/Casuarina HQ

Existing branch network **

  • Nguiu
  • Yirrkala
  • Borrolooa
  • Yuendumu
  • Elliott
  • Umbakumba
  • Hermannsburg
  • Daguragu / Kalkarindji
  • Ali Curung
  • Papunya
  • Lajamanu
  • Alice Springs Service Hub
  • Katherine Services Hub

** Consultations will be undertaken in each of the proposed new branch locations to ensure community involvement/support.

TCU People

A critical feature and benefit of the TCU is its capacity as an employer of Aboriginal people. The TCU has 70 staff positions, 65 are filled. Overall 73% of TCU staff are Indigenous, while 97% of staff within the remote branches are local Indigenous community members.

Prior to joining TCU, most applicants have low literacy and numeracy skills and no prior job history. TCU provides a true learning environment for Indigenous people, to ensure that any new staff employed have the best chance of longevity in their employment and that existing staff are not placed under any pressures that may cause them difficulties with remaining employed.

TCU prides itself on providing a work environment for Indigenous staff that is culturally informed. Many of the recruitment practices that are followed are designed to ensure that Indigenous applicants have the best possible chance of success both in gaining employment and maintaining it.

Media - For further information contact:

Meaghan Telford
Media Relations Manager
National Australia Bank
M: 0457 551 211

Unocha Burr Burr
General Manager
Traditional Credit Union
M: 0458 098 570