Island State Credit Union was a strong name in Tasmanian financial mutuals until it merged with Connect Credit Union in 2007. The new business launched as MyState Financial and two years later MyState demutualised.

What became Island State began as Postech Credit Union Co-operative Society in 1970. In its 37 year history it accepted the engagements of 11 other credit unions but it started with a group of postal technicians.

Postal technicians is a somewhat misleading job title. These “Postal technicians” maintained the telephone exchanges of Tasmania. The written history of Island State CU called, Putting People First: Island State Credit Union 1970-2000, records that the postal technicians who agreed to form a credit union in Hobart knew, “nothing, zilch!’ about either credit unions or financial matters more generally”.

They did know that they had trouble getting loans. Putting People First: Island State Credit Union 1970-2000, details the difficulty first Postech CU Chairman, Jim Forbes, had in getting a loan:

“It was almost as if you had to prove you didn’t need the money before the bank would lend it to you … Because you were borrowing money meant there was something wrong with you anyway, and if there was something wrong with you, you were a bad credit risk, and you were treated as such”, said Jim.

By the time the name was changed to Island State Credit Union in 1980, the administrators had to deal with payroll deductions from 74 different organisations including government departments, charities, trade unions, four hospitals, four newspapers and more. The seed organisation, Telecom, was just one of these so it made sense to have a change of name.

A lot of thought went into the change of name but many Postech stalwarts were against it. When the name “Island State” was eventually chosen it was a popular one. Interestingly, “Island State” was not a widely used term for Tasmania at the time.

In the year following the name change, Island State completed one of its bigger mergers (the biggest prior to 2007 was with the Credit Union of Tasmania in 1986). This was the absorbing of Mountsea Credit Union which was begun at the Cadbury chocolate factory. Mountsea began strongly but by the time it merged with Island State it had actually lost some members.

Other significant mergers took place on the turn of the millennium. In July of 2000, Island State accepted the engagements of Polish Credit Union which had been serving the Tasmanian Polish community since 1966.

The March 1993 edition of Tasmanian Credit Union News reported that “the Polish Community Credit Union entered into an agency arrangement with Island State Credit Union giving its members access to their financial institution virtually throughout Tasmania during business hours”.

From this news we can see that a merger was long on the cards. Another interesting fact about Polish Credit Union is that in 1993 it still did not have any staff. The article in Tasmanian Credit Union News declares that, “The Polish Community Credit Union operates without any staff; its Board of Directors personally carry out all the functions as well as the duties normally associated with a Board.”

In November of 2000, Island State accepted the engagements of CPS Credit Union (TAS) in their last big change before becoming MyState Financial in 2007 and demutualising soon after. CPS stood for Commonwealth Public Service and at the time of merging they had over 5000 members, no small thing in such a small state. In 2021, does the Tasmanian financial community miss the old Island State Credit Union?