The August 1972 edition of Credit Union Quest (the newspaper produced by the NSW Credit Union League) announced “Two Big South Coast Credit Unions Merge”. The first sentence reads, “The Collieries Employees and the Southern Mutual credit unions have amalgamated to form The Illawarra Credit Union”.  The article notes that this was Australia’s first credit union merger.

The merging credit unions had their best year of operations to date and the article notes that the new larger entity had sufficient capital to open another branch in Wollongong. In August 1972, Illawarra Credit Union had over $1 million of savings with more than 4400 members.

A little over 10 years later, in December 1982, Australian Credit Unions Magazine, which was published by the Australian Federation of Credit Union Leagues (AFCUL) celebrated the 10th anniversary of Illawarra Credit Union. In that time it had accepted the engagements of Norwarra Credit Union in 1976 and increased its membership to 16,600 with assets of around $25 million. It now had seven branches located at Helensburgh, Bulli, Corrimal, Wollongong, Warilla, Dapto and Nowra.

By 1999, AFCUL had been replaced by CUSCAL as Australia’s credit union peak body and their magazine, Directions, also had an article about Illawarra Credit Union. In the February 1999 edition of Directions, journalist Lisa Lintern wrote a profile of Illawarra Credit Union which focused on the member surveys they had been regularly conducting.

The article states that Illawarra Credit Union “conducts major member surveys approximately every 18 months and specific product positioning surveys are performed during this time when required. Usually, a professional research company is used which employs methods such as telephone surveys or focus groups”. Also covered are Illawarra’s use of the Phonelink IVR service and their computer conversion project which saw the replacement of their Financial Network Service. Finally, the article covered the recent extension of Illawarra Credit Union’s operating bond which allowed it to operate beyond the Illawarra region to the entirety of NSW and the ACT.

In 2003, Illawarra Credit Union merged with Unicom Credit Union forming Community Alliance Credit Union Limited.