Published Yesterday, Waking the Asian Pacific Cooperative Potential is an academic look into how mutual firms and credit unions have had meaningful change in the Asia Pacific Region. Cufa's CEO, Dr Peter Mason, has contributed an insightful piece on the history of our long term partner organisation, Teachers Mutual Bank.
Dr.Mason’s look takes us through the beginning of the Credit Union movement following the end of the second World War, one of these was the Hornsby Teachers Credit Union, which began in the early 1960’s. Their growth started due to ‘local financial institutions not meeting the needs of the community, due to not only access, but the types of financial products that these institutions offer, perceived unaffordability of interest rates, or financial products that do not meet social needs.’. As they developed, they held a core philosophy of ‘teachers helping teachers’, and their early days reflected that, the early members beginning by recruiting new members during their lunch breaks. The Hornsby Teachers Credit Union became the NSW Teachers Credit Union in 1967, and thanks to automatic payroll deductions, they grew rapidly.
The NSW Teachers Credit Union was one of many credit unions during the height of the 70s, at their peak numbering 833 in total. These credit unions pioneered the first 24 hour Automatic Telling Machines in Australia, and continued to grow into the 80s, and by 1991 they had grown to over 64,000 members and provided over $1 billion dollars in loans to their members.
The book takes an analytical approach to the Asian Co-operative Model, as well as Agricultural Co-operatives, Credit Co-operatives and Worker Co-operatives. Though not written as a coffee table book, it definitely is a book to keep your eye out for if you are keen to understand the intricate and rich history of the Asia-Pacific Co-operative environment.
Dear Members and Supporters of Cufa,
Cufa would like to inform you that in an effort to continue to maximise the amount of funding that Cufa delivers to our programs overseas, it has been decided to change our Auditor from Grant Thornton Level 17/383 Kent St Sydney NSW 2000 to BDO, Level 11/1 Margaret St Sydney NSW 2000.
We are proud to welcome these three new directors onto the board of Cufa Ltd. These new board members have been chosen due to their wisdom and knowledge in key areas relevant to Cufa.
Damon is a government relations and strategic communications specialist with over 20 years’ experience in designing and delivering government relations, strategic communications and social research programs for high profile clients in Australia and internationally. He has experience in Federal Government working for the Finance Minister as well as on multiple federal and state political campaigns. Damon is the owner and Principal of Christmas Jalili, a public affairs, strategic communications and social research advisory consulting private sector organisations and industry groups on issues in business, finance and politics. Prior to that, Damon was also a Partner and Head of the Government Relations Practice at Kreab (formerly Gavin Anderson).
Jo is a senior executive with more than 15 years’ experience working across non-profit and government sectors to build awareness of complex social issues in Australia and South East Asia. Her expertise encompasses media relations, government engagement, fundraising, community development and corporate partnerships. Jo was the CEO of Project Futures, and the International Policy Advisor for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Senior Communications and Partnerships Adviser, World Vision Australia. Jo was a member of the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Committee.
Amanda Young is an Indigenous woman to the Pacific Islands who has worked extensively across the political, social and economic equity of Indigenous people. A lawyer by trade, she has worked in criminal law, government, commerce and as the CEO of an Australian Indigenous economic charity where her impact led to the first Indigenous financial wellbeing strategy, a world-first Indigenous financial edutech program and a superannuation outreach program which reunited $24 million Indigenous superannuation with its remote and regional owners in a matter of days. This work earned her several award nominations and successes. As an Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity at the London School of Economics, and has attended Harvard and Stanford executive business schools, Amanda’s most recent work is on global regenerative and distributive economies.
Cufa is launching the second season of its Conversations in Development Podcast.
Hosted by Cufa’s CEO, Dr Peter Mason, this season, we will have 8 new exciting episodes that will bring new guests who can share their experience in the development sector.
Unsurprisingly, given recent events, our first episode will focus on one of the toughest challenge’s humanity has faced on the 21th century, the Covid-19 pandemic. Our conversation with our surprise guest will delve deep into the Covid 19 response from NGO’s; how do you ensure safety for your workers and the communities you are in, how long will these effects last, and does the international development and humanitarian sector need to change in response to the challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic.
While you wait, why not check out our first season of Conversations in Development. Our first season was a success, covering fascinating topics such as volunteer tourism, faith and aid, social justice and advocacy, with experts in the field of development like Tim Costello, Chief Advocate of World Vision Australia and Mahir Momand, CEO of Thrive Refugee Enterprise. You can find them here or on Google Podcast and Itunes!
Foresters Community Finance is an ethical lender that not only provides fast and affordable loans to people in need of assistance, they also provide loans to many small businesses.
Foresters offers two loan products specifically to assist small businesses. The Enterprise Loan is available to any type of small business needing finance to start-up or for established businesses to take their business to the next level. Whereas QuicksART, is a micro-loan designed specifically for individual artists and small-scale cultural enterprises. QuicksART loans are the first step in the ladder of loan financing for the cultural sector and Foresters encourage individuals and enterprises to consider these loans within a mixed income portfolio of grants, donations, sponsorship and earned income.
Over the years Foresters has provided loans to social not-for-profit enterprises that support the community and/or benefit the environment. Recent examples include providing micro-finance loans to a specialist sporting club to purchase new rowing sculls; various businesses providing services for the disabled including schools, dancing groups, circus troupes; and local community stores.
Foresters believes in lending responsibly an amount that they can afford to pay; to help small businesses grow and become financially successful, therefore benefiting the whole community. There is a single loan establishment fee, which can be capitalised into the loan balance. There are no hidden monthly costs or early exit fees.
Foresters mission is to lend responsibly so that all customers are treated fairly with only products that are suited to their needs and individual situation.
To find out more or to apply for a small business loan visit foresters.org.au/enterprise-loans
In November 2018, Foresters Community Finance first heard from Bryan. Bryan had recently retired and was seeking a loan for rental bond as he moved to better accommodation in far north Queensland. As many people know rental bond is quite a significant amount for a person to have on hand and for Bryan applying for a loan with Foresters made it easier for him to live better. Bryan started with a $1,400 rental bond loan.
Bryan is a respected member of the community and is highly in tune with his budget, how to calculate loans and interest rates. He runs a personal ledger of all his spending, income and repayment timings. Bryan also lends very small amounts out to family and friends in need.
Shortly after taking out the loan, Bryan was diagnosed with cancer and spent several months undergoing chemo treatment. During the times he was in hospital for treatment, Bryan would arrange with Foresters to delay his loan repayments, however each time he would promptly catch up with them once out of hospital.
Bryan would also arrange with his housekeeper to make his loan repayments and pay for other expenses. Unfortunately, in trusting this person to do the right thing he gave them $400 to pay off his loan and sadly this person went on a vacation with that money. Bryan learnt the hard way that he should only pay us directly. Bryan then arranged with us to extend the loan until such time that he could complete the loan.
After some great news on his cancer treatment success and some 12 months later, Bryan renovated his kitchen and also took the opportunity to renew all his small and other appliances. This time Foresters assisted Bryan with a No Fee and No Interest loan.
Shortly into this new loan Bryan’s illness returned. To avoid repayment issues, Bryan changed to a better bank account and arranged for the loan to remain in good standing, without reliance or ability of others to access that bank account for withdrawals.
Foresters Community Finance has been providing support to those in need for over 100 years. Bryan is one of many the customers that Foresters is able to provide with no or low interest loans to help them during times of need.
The Foresters and Cufa teams wish Bryan a speedy recovery.
Cufa acquired Foresters in mid-2019.
Foresters Community Finance recently expanded its loans product suite with the launch of it’s new product – FreshPath. FreshPath offers cash loans of up to $4,000 for the times when people need extra cash fast for whatever reason.
Foresters launched FreshPath cash loans as a cost-effective alternative to the high-interest loans offered by pay-day lenders, where annual interest rates charged are often between 112% and 407.6%, with the majority tending to be at the higher end permissible under law. The difference with a FreshPath Cash Loan is the low establishment and monthly fees, along with the commitment and core belief that all lending should be responsible, fair and ethical.
The application process is quick and easy and all online. The cash loans are paid directly into a nominated bank account for fast and easy access as needed.
Cufa acquired Foresters, a long-standing a not-for-profit micro-loan organisation in July 2019. Cufa CEO, Dr Peter Mason then said about the amalgamation: “it is a union of two like-minded organisations, both having a strong social impact on economically disadvantaged individuals and communities through providing financial services and education with the aim of preventing people plunging into a spiralling cycle of debt.” Both organisations have a principle of helping people help themselves. Foresters is also a Certified B Corporation which means that it uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
Redundancy is a word with negative connotations, but not according to Weh Yeoh who says all charities should be aiming to make themselves redundant. If charities focused more on solving problems rather than addressing symptoms, they would create a space for local people to create solutions to their own problems.
In this Conversations in Development podcast, Weh and Dr Peter Mason, CEO Cufa, discuss whether it is practical to have a clear exit plan from the outset of a charitable enterprise in a country, and whether it is always possible to completely solve a problem and move on.
Photo: Dr Peter Mason, Cufa CEO with Weh Yeoh.
About Weh Yeoh
Weh Yeoh is the founder of OIC Cambodia, established for the 600,000 Cambodians with communication and swallowing disabilities. According to Weh, OIC is one of a handful of charities in the world working towards its own exit. OIC will exit Cambodia in 2030, when there are 100 Cambodian speech therapists integrated into the public sector. Weh is also the co-founder of Umbo, an initiative to improve access to services for children in rural and remote communities. He has been featured on TEDx, The Huffington Post and The Sydney Morning Herald. Find out more about Weh’s work at wehyeoh.com.
This podcast is brought to you by Cufa, an international development agency alleviating poverty across the Asia Pacific .
To hear more topical discussions about issues in the foreign aid and development sector go to http://www.conversationsindevelopment.com.au/
This year Teachers Mutual Bank managers were set a step challenge to see who could walk the most steps across the week and staff paid to guess which manager would win. There were some impressive results with 35 managers walking over 3 million steps, equivalent to walking from Sydney to Townsville! One manager walked over 38,000 steps in 1 day and the winner walked a total of 173,000 steps for the week. TMB staff celebrated with morning tea festivities and games including Prize Pong on 21st November.
Cufa's Make A Difference Day (aka MAD Day) is usually aligned with the Anti-Poverty Week - a nationwide movement that is committed to raising awareness and helping those living in poverty. This year though we thought why not run it through until the end of October giving people more time to organise some fun.
MAD Day is all about celebrating the difference we can bring to those living in poverty. While the majority of people in the Asia-Pacific region live on just a few dollars a day, companies and individuals across Australia unite to lift these people from poverty and help them build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.
BankFirst got into the spirit and had a loud/colourful shirt day on Friday 18th October and ran a raffle with all money raised going to Cufa for MAD Day. The first prize was a day off work but Cufa was the real winner! Thanks to the team at BankFirst for your support!