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CU System
Australian CU speaks to indigenous members
GALIWINKU, Australia (9/21/10)--Traditional CU (TCU), which is based in Darwin, Australia, will use storytelling and pictures to market to members who do not understand English or read their native languages.
Click to view larger image Morgan Hoyes, left, Traditional CU business development officer, explains to World Council of Credit Unions’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Branch the challenges of serving an indigenous population.
Click to view larger image Robyn Lacey, Traditional CU human resources manager (left), discusses the day’s activities with Galiwinku branch manager Sherilyn Dhamarrandji. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Within the next month, TCU will introduce marketing materials that illustrate its services and use attached audio units--similar to those found in greeting cards--to describe its services in native languages. TCU, founded to serve the country’s Aboriginal population scattered across Australia’s Northern Territory, will resolve long-standing issues of reaching members who come from an oral tradition and who speak but do not read or write Yolngu, Kriol or other tribal languages. “We’re developing posters that show services in pictures and have pop-out audio units that can change as the language or services change,” said Morgan Hoyes, TCU business development officer. “This will better help us serve our diverse members.” The credit union is employing an approach already developed by OneTalk Technology, an Australian firm specializing in audio products to reach the country’s indigenous population. The approach combines graphics with language translations. Healthcare providers use the program for Australia’s indigenous people. It will augment the translation services provided by Aboriginal tellers and managers who make up roughly 75% of staff in TCU’s 11 branches. “We’ve heard a lot about the work TCU does in taking its services to Aboriginal people,” said Brian Branch, World Council of Credit Unions executive vice president and chief operating officer. He recently visited the credit union’s Galiwinku branch on Elcho Island off Australia’s northern coast. “The credit union was established at the request of tribal elders, and that support has been important to their ability to provide financial empowerment.” TCU, which offers basic financial services to 7,000 indigenous members, works to overcome cultural mores requiring families to share their assets with other family members who may have squandered their own funds, according to Robyn Lacey, TCU’s human resources manager. Despite the challenges, the credit union plans to open small branches in 11 more Aboriginal communities in 2011 with a goal to move farther south into the territory in years to come, she said. “Financial literacy is an issue,” Lacey said. “We’re making progress, but it is not going to happen overnight.”
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