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Our Members and CUA's Rich History

man with two children
Building on CUA’s rich history of helping members

It has been a momentous year for CUA as we reflected back on our rich 70-year heritage and embarked on exciting opportunities for CUA’s future. In October 2016, we marked 70 years since the formation of the oldest credit union in the CUA family and the first credit union in Australia, the Catholic Thrift and Loan Co-operative. Our celebrations culminated in the launch in May of a history book -‘For Mutual Good: The Story of CUA’. Written by Adam McNicol, it reflects on the 171 credit unions that make up modern-day CUA.

In addition to our banking heritage, CUA also marked a milestone 40 years of having our own health insurance subsidiary, with CUA Health now insuring more than 78,900 Australians. The CUA Purpose adopted last year – Members working together through life’s changes for mutual good - continued to shape CUA’s journey this year. In Toowoomba, we worked together with around 140 CUA members who helped co-design our new CUA Community Hub – a unique shared space where 60% of the area is dedicated for community use. We relocated our Robina branch to a modern new store. We also launched a new suite of product offerings for parents planning, expecting or raising a family in our first ‘life change’ initiative.

Our continued investment in our ‘anywhere, anytime’ digital initiatives (see page 7) delivered a better experience for existing members, while helping to drive member growth of 13,409 members, our strongest increase in many years. We helped 9,785 members to buy or refinance a home or investment property this year. We also assisted 12,742 members with things like a new car, holiday or renovation, issuing a record $256.58 million in personal loans.

Supporting members through life changes

Sophie Saul was only 23 weeks into her pregnancy when doctors told the Gladstone mum that she and her unborn baby could die within 30 hours unless they received specialist emergency care. “I’d had two perfectly normal pregnancies and natural deliveries with our first two daughters - I didn’t understand why this was happening to me,” Sophie said.

After being rushed to Brisbane with the Royal Flying Doctor Service - and having her waters break mid-flight – the prognosis did not look good. A week later, on 22 September 2016, baby Maddison was born at just 24 weeks in hospital in Brisbane - 15 weeks premature and weighing just over 500 grams.

“I was in the car when I found out Sophie was being flown to Brisbane. It was really scary not knowing what would happen to her or the baby,” husband Ben Saul recalled. Maddison spent 103 days in hospital, including nearly 3 months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. By the end of her stay, the hospital bill had exceeded $205,000, which was paid by CUA Health under the family’s hospital cover.

“We hadn’t even thought about how much the medical care was costing until we found out from CUA Health that they’d covered the lot,” Ben said. Maddison is now a bubbly, healthy one-year-old, getting plenty of cuddles from older sisters Indee, 2, and Ella, 6. Sophie explains that ongoing specialist medical appointments in Brisbane to check her eyesight, lungs and development are becoming less frequent. “We are very lucky and Maddison has actually been a very happy and settled baby, even with what she’s been through.”