Way back in 1973, a group of enterprising and community minded workers at the Cairns Regional Electricity Board (affectionately known as C.R.E.B) heard about the wonders of credit unions. It occurred to them a credit union might benefit C.R.E.B employees so they decided to form one for their mutual benefit.

Their vision resulted in the establishment of C.R.E.B. Credit Union Ltd that very same year. By 1976, the organisation had prospered to such an extent that it became necessary to employ full time staff. Just a year later, in 1977, it became Electricity Credit Union and it was known as this until 2010 when it became ECU Australia Limited (ECU Australia Limited merged with Queensland Country Credit Union in 2017).

Directions magazine, produced by the Credit Union Services Corporation (Australia) Ltd (CUSCAL) in the late 1990s, examined the issues and concerns of the Australian credit union movement. In that time it published a number of stories involving the Electricity Credit Union and together they help tell its story.

One of the most interesting stories appeared in the December 1998 edition of Directions. Titled, “Queensland Government Backs Credit Union in Dirranbandi”, the story explored the “strategic alliance between the Queensland Government [which] will allow the residents of Dirranbandi, a small town in south-west Queensland, to have access to Government and banking services under the one roof”.

The article goes on to detail the agreement that was facilitated by CreditCare, which was a Division of CUSCAL. The program gave the residents of Dirranbandi access to vehicle registration facilities, business names transactions, Workcover transactions, the office of Births, Deaths & Marriages as well as the full suite of banking services offered to credit union members elsewhere in Queensland.