This year Dnister celebrates 60 years since its registration under the then newly introduced Commonwealth Banking Act in 1959.
Prior to the introduction of the Banking Act in 1959, organizations were governed by different laws in different states. Dnister’s origins precede 1959, with Dnister Ukrainian Credit Co-operative being formed in 1959 from the Self-Reliance self-help credit coop formed in 1951 by the Brotherhood of the first Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Australia at St Augustine’s in Bourke St, Melbourne.
Since 1959, Dnister has united with other Credit Unions/Co-operatives:
- Kalyna Ukrainian Credit Union (Perth; formed in 1978 ; merged in 2000)
- Hoverla Ukrainian Credit Co-operative (Adelaide; formed in 1961; merged in 2008)
- Latvian Australian Credit Co-operative Society (Melbourne & Sydney; formed 1960; merged 2016)
Dnister, as of June 30, 2019:
- Has branches or agencies in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Geelong and Sydney
- Has over 8,100 members spread across all Australian states and territories:
- Members of Ukrainian and Latvian heritage and their families
- Members outside of the Ukrainian and Latvian communities introduced to Dnister by existing members
- Manages on behalf of those members:
- Assets of $187 Million
- Members deposits of $155 Million
- Loans to members of $135 Million
- Members Equity of $24 Million
It is easy to dwell on the hardships we face in today’s society – increased scrutiny, rules and regulation, Royal Commissions, etc. But these challenges are trivial compared to those overcome by the pioneers who came from a devastated Europe as ‘displaced persons’ to Australia and established those organisations that are now the modern Dnister. They
- witnessed the destruction of their homelands by the Nazi and Soviet military,
- spent years in displaced persons camps in Europe waiting to find out where they would be able to settle,
- travelled half-way around the world to Australia, a land about which they knew very little
- worked their contract on important projects as part of their settlement conditions.
And then they worked together to form communities, parishes, schools and credit unions to help each other build new lives in Australia whilst remembering and honoring their heritage and culture.
As we start our celebration of 60 years as Dnister we pause to remember those who founded Self-Reliance in Melbourne, Kalyna Ukrainian Credit Union in Perth, Hoverla Ukrainian Credit Co-operative in Adelaide and Latvian Australian Credit Co-operative Society in Melbourne and Sydney.
We honour their sacrifice in building credit unions and cooperatives that supported and helped build the Australian-Ukrainian and Australian-Latvian Communities we have today.
And as we recognize the efforts and sacrifices of all those who founded and built those organizations, the current Board of Dnister commits to honouring these forefathers and foremothers by continuing to support our members and their communities with the best possible products to enable them to live prosperous and meaningful lives.
Chair, on behalf of the Dnister Board