The Orana region of North-western NSW takes up an extraordinarily large area which according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics held around 114,000 people as of 2015. Considering the region takes in famous towns such as Dubbo, Cobar, Mudgee and Bourke that is not all that many people.

Orana Credit Union served the residents of that huge area from 1980 to 2008 when it merged with New England Credit Union and ceased trading. Its origins were in Dubbo, where it was registered as Dubbo Community Credit Union in 1968.

In the May 1969 edition of Credit Union Quest, George McCready, a representative of Dubbo Community Credit Union spoke about what the credit union meant for the people of Dubbo.

“Young couples wanting to get married have found a loan from the credit union very handy. Some other borrowers have been householders planning to be connected to the Council’s mass septic system, George McCready said”.

He went on to say, “In one unusual case we lent a Dubbo man money to pay a Court fine”. In 1982, two years after becoming Orana Credit Union with a community bond to serve members over a tremendously large geographical area, it was still not the largest community credit union in NSW in terms of membership. That title was held by Tweed-Byron Credit Union, based in Lismore.

However, such were the talents and creativity of the Orana staff that Tweed-Byron sent their staff to Dubbo in order to learn about their state of the art computer operations. In fact, St Mary’s Papakura Credit Union, a New Zealand credit union, also asked Orana Credit Union for assistance, such was their renown for excellence.

A year later, Orana General Manager, Don Howe spoke in Australian Credit Unions Magazine about the ongoing success of the credit union. “In 1975 Dubbo had one building society and no hire purchase companies – now we have four building societies and seven hire purchase companies. However, despite this competition Orana continues to have excellent growth patterns, Don said”.

12 years later Australian Credit Unions Magazine toasted Orana’s tremendous success in their February 1995 issue. On this occasion it wasn’t growth figures but Orana’s third successive victory in the financial industries category in the Dubbo Outstanding Business Awards. The article states that, “Orana General Manager Ken Tucker said winning the latest award was completely unexpected, especially since the organisation had not even nominated itself”.