Our History


We're a financial co-operative owned by you, the members

At 7.30pm on the 17th of July 1967, employees of the Small Arms Factory in Lithgow, gathered in the canteen to discuss the establishment of a financial co-operative owned and operated by its members.

At that moment S.A.F.E Credit Union was established.

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The Credit Union Story

Throughout Australia there are over 100 different credit unions collectively holding more than $40.0 billion in assets, and providing community banking services to more than 3.5 million Australians.

Credit Unions are different to banks or other financial institutions in that on joining a credit union, you become a member which means you become part owner of the credit union and are entitled to a say in the running of your credit union. You have the right to vote at annual general meetings and participate in election of the Board of Directors.

Unlike the banks, the credit union makes decisions to benefit our members, profits are returned to members, as opposed to payment of dividends to shareholders.

Credit unions are an important competitive force in Australia’s retail finance industry.

With more than 3.5 million members spread throughout metropolitan, rural and regional areas, credit unions are now the preferred choice for nearly one in four adults.

The growth in popularity of credit unions has been steadily increasing. The nation’s 120 credit unions now have more members than three of the largest four banks. Nearly a quarter of Australia’s banking population are members of a credit union and a growing number of these people consider their credit union as their main financial institution.

As more and more Australians become disenchanted with the impersonal service and high fees and charges offered by other financial institutions, they are finding that credit unions offer a style of service that few can match. The reason for this is the unique ownership structure of credit unions. Credit unions are mutual organisations, owned by their members for their members.

At a credit union, each member is both a customer and a shareholder in the credit union. Their ownership ensures that credit unions are motivated to put their members’ needs first.

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