CMCU ~Celebrating 50 years of success

Original Office Manager Joan O’Bryan and founding and long standing board member Tony Farey.

How it all began for the community

The year 2022 marks a significant milestone for the Central Murray Credit Union (CMCU) when the organisation celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The CMCU (formally known as the Yarrawonga Credit Union) has a proud history in the local community boasting significant community contribution.

To celebrate credit union’s official 50 year anniversary, the Chronicle in partnership with CMCU, will feature some of the organisation’s many highlights, community contributions and influential people.

Central Murray Credit Union Limited started life as Yarrawonga Credit Union Co-operative Limited on the 8th August, 1972.

Trading commenced in September 1972 in Belmore Street Yarrawonga. After operating from several temporary offices, a permanent office was purchased in 1974 at 58 Belmore Street, from which they still operate today.

The origin of Yarrawonga Credit Union commenced at a public meeting held on the July 4, 1972.

Chairman was Councillor Frank Keenan who had called the meeting to discuss the desirability of forming a Credit Union Co-operative in Yarrawonga.

The steering committee that was formed from that meeting was comprised of Cr. Barry Woods (the main organiser of the credit union), Cr Bruce Forge, Don Presley, John Williams, Pat Flanagan, Tony Farey, Roy Loughnan, John Easdown, Brian Power, Gordon Oakley and Mrs. Gloria Begley.

A study was made of the credit unions already established at Benalla, Wangaratta, Kyabram, Shepparton and Numurkah. The success achieved by these five co-operatives convinced the committee that Yarrawonga should have a credit union co-operative.

The actual formation took place at a follow up meeting on 1st August, 1972 with registration under the Co-operative Act 1958 and business commenced shortly after the first Board meeting that was held on September 8, 1972.

Arrangements were made to have an initial agency in the office of Young Lambert, Easdown & Company at 38 Belmore Street.

The original foundation Board of Directors consisted of Barry Woods, Tony Farey, Don Presley, Tom Etchells, Brian Power, James Campbell and Gloria Begley.

At the first Board meeting, John Williams was appointed Secretary/Treasurer.

Most of these directors knew very little about the day to day running of a credit union. John Williams found out and guided the board through teething troubles.

A great amount of guidance was given by Tony Farey who showed that he had a natural knowledge of organisation and handling of money.

The Yarrawonga Credit Union office on 58 Belmore Street in 1993.

Towards the latter part of the year a Promotions Committee was formed; this committee consisted of Tom Etchells, Gloria Begley and Alan Hayes. This committee moved into top gear with advertising and a fairly good pamphlet.

At the first Annual General Meeting in 1973, Yarrawonga Credit Union started with 37 members. Eight months later the membership had reached 71.

The purchase of two shops on one title at the credit union’s current premises at 58 Belmore Street came about after the directors leant on prominent people in the shire and asked them to invest money in the credit union for which they would pay interest of 10.00%.

Between Barry Woods and Tony Farey, they organised a business loan with the Association to purchase the buildings and they proceeded to move in and install the office staff.

Soon after the credit union was open for business from 2pm to 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

CMCU is celebrating 50 years of success across our region.