15/8/14 – The industry body that represents 22 cooperatively owned credit unions and mutual building societies throughout New Zealand, was recognised last night by Cooperative Business New Zealand at its inaugural Annual Service Awards event.

Held at the Novotel Ellerslie, Auckland, the awards dinner saw NZACU recognised for its 53 years’ service as a member owned cooperative, along with a number of other significant cooperative organisations.

“Cooperative businesses are very important contributors to the New Zealand economy, and we’re delighted to be recognised alongside such a prestigious collection of organisations with this award” said Henry Lynch, CEO of NZACU.

“Our Member credit unions and building societies serve over 200,000 New Zealanders and are worth over $1.4b in assets – that’s significant in itself” said Mr Lynch. “And when you look at the huge range of the other organisations that were recognised in the awards – from Interflora to Foodstuffs to Farmlands Co-op Society – you realise the significance of cooperative businesses model to the New Zealand economy”.

NZACU’s Members employ over 550 staff, in more than 90 branches throughout the country, and collectively are the sixth largest financial transactor by volume in New Zealand.

One of those Member credit unions, NZCU Baywide, was also recognised at the awards dinner, for 43 years as a financial services cooperative serving the Hawke’s Bay and lower North Island.

“The cooperative business model is one that has stood the test of time, as can be seen by the wide range of long serving and thriving organisations represented at the awards ceremony” said NZCU Baywide Chief Executive, Gavin Earle. “It’s also a model that is perfectly poised to grow exponentially with the groundswell of modern social consciousness.”

Mr Lynch agreed, adding “Being cooperatively owned by New Zealanders also means that profits stay in the local economy, which is really important in the current financial climate.”

Independently owned and operated by their members for their members, credit unions and mutual building societies provide a wide range of financial services, like savings accounts, loans and insurance, and any profits are returned to the members in a combination of ways, such as fairer fees and interest rates with community involvement.

ENDS