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Banking on resilience

2 min read

Steven Lynch, mecu’s National Community Banking Manager, says mecu is “committed to investment that builds more successful communities”.

“More resilient communities have the capacity to bounce back from unexpected financial and social pressures, and environmental change,” says Lynch.

He refers to the recent Chilean and Haitian earthquakes, and last year’s Victorian bush fires, as examples which illustrate how unexpected change can throw lives, infrastructure and governments into chaos. He reiterates that the way in which they recover is a sign of their resilience.

In committing to this vision, mecu recently supported a national conference, Australia 21, which explored Australia’s resilience and how, as a nation, we can prepare for an uncertain future.

By elucidating ‘the next big questions facing Australia’, “this in turn will assist us to identify where and how best to invest funds on behalf of our owners in the future,” says Lynch.

Conservation issues

In the International Year of Biodiversity, mecu is keen to demonstrate that corporate Australia, non-government organisations and government can work together to address conservation issues of national concern.

The Conservation Landbank is a world leading initiative that offsets biodiversity lost during new home constructions and carbon emissions from mecu’s goGreen car loans. It will also help the Credit Union become carbon neutral by 2010.

mecu has just expanded its Conservation Landbank in Victoria’s West Wimmera with a second acquisition, the Judith Eardley Wildlife Reserve, which approached mecu through Landcare Australia and offered to support the Conservation Landbank with a donation of $250,000.

“These types of projects represent investments on behalf of our owners,” says Lynch. “The funds used to finance these acquisitions are generated though our responsible approach to banking.”

Support for education

A practical way of building resilience for children in the education system is to ensure that every child is adequately dressed for school.

This year mecu’s owners provided $68,000 to the State Schools Relief Committee, fulfilling its promise to donate $40,000, plus an additional $1,000 for every million dollars in new funds invested with the Credit Union. The extra $28 million banked by the education sector led to a top-up donation of $28,000.

Access to housing

Access to safe, affordable and secure housing is a foundation stone for a resilient nation.

The community housing sector is undergoing rapid change as a result of the Australian Government’s investment of $6.7 billion in social housing.

Both the stimulus package and National Rental Affordability Scheme are seeking to bring together the community sector and responsible investors like mecu in an effort to address the country’s housing crisis.

mecu is working closely with the affordable housing sector, financing the development of housing projects across Australia and supporting two national housing conferences run by the Community Housing Federation of Australia and PowerHousing Australia.

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