Published: 03 December 2012
Extracted chapter from Griffiths, David (Ed.) Co-operators - Co-operation and Co-operatives, Southeast Housing Co-operative Ltd, 2012, pp 50-51.
The YCW is a movement of education, service and representation, designed to unite Christians more closely to Christ their Redeemer and to lead others to Christ. The technique of the YCW is based on the fact that its design is to be fulfilled in a world in which human frailty of man is assailed by many factors which hinder a love, knowledge and imitation of Christ.
One of these damaging factors is the economic situation of the community, which does not make it easy for the ordinary person to fulfil God’s plan for him.
God created man to His own image and likeness. Man has a dignity. To attain that dignity he is entitled to freedom. Freedom means among other things, economic freedom. Freedom to choose a job or career of his own liking, provided he is not opposed to the common good or the law of God. It means the right to an adequate wage to enable preparation for marriage and for the married man to support his family with reasonable security and comfort. To safeguard his independence and aid his personal dignity, man has the right to acquire some personal property, particularly his own home.
In Australia the economic set-up is far from ideal. There are many good things but the worst factor is the small percentage of people who have any control of productive property. To change this is not easy. Yet the technique of the YCW is admirably suited to contribute largely to such a change. For such a change will depend on education, on facilities for people and on well-prepared representations to authorities.
The co-operative is one service that the YCW has sponsored in Australia, especially in Melbourne, which is essential to beneficial economic reform.
The Melbourne YCW has sponsored 13 Co-operative Housing Societies, a Consumers Co-operative Society, a Co-operative Credit Society, and an Association of Credit Societies. The Consumers Co-operative includes a Trading Division, a Building Division and an Insurance Division.
The Housing Societies since their formation in 1945 have financed approximately 1600 people to build their homes, whilst about 300 people have finance reserved for them to build their homes. These Societies have offered long-term loans at repayments cheaper than any other housing finance body except War Service Homes. High building costs and interest increases in 1945 prevented many low wage earners from being able to finance a home even through Co-operative Housing Societies. The YCW made several representations to authorities to help partially overcome these problems but as yet no success has been achieved. The present shortage of money available from lending institutions for Co-operative Housing Societies emphasises that co-operatives dependent on private finance sources cannot fulfil all their plans .
This adds points to the great value in Co-operative Credit Societies. These are societies formed by groups of people in a parish or in a place of work, which operate just like savings banks. However, they have this difference - they are run by and for the benefit of their members. Interest is paid on deposits members make with the Society and members can obtain loans from the Society for good and necessary purposes, at a low rate of interest.
The Credit Society is the basic Co-operative Society. From it and around it can be developed other types of Co-operative Societies. It encourages thrift, it trains people in the sense of responsibility of how to manage money, it develops a spirit of charitable co-operation, and it accumulates funds the use of which is dictated by need and not by profit.
In the first year or so, a Credit Society can usually lend only small amounts. As members continue to support it and recruit new members to it, the Society can make larger loans. An Association of Credit Societies enables surplus funds in one Credit Society to be utilised in another where money is needed. It can also introduce other benefits such as life insurance safeguards.
A Means of Saving
The YCW should take an active interest in fostering parochial Credit Societies for it would be a valuable service to assist young workers to save money for their future. Also the Credit Society properly developed can assist people to finance commencement in a business of their own.
Another immediate benefit from a Credit Society is for the person or family obliged to buy goods on terms. Take for example a person buying an article for $60 on usual hire purchase charges. Say he pays a deposit of $10 and the balance of $50 over 12 months. His interest charge amounts to $4/10/-.
Through a Credit Society if he borrowed £50 repayable in 12 months, to pay cash for the article, his interest charges would be £1/4/-. The big difference is further accentuated, the larger the amount and the longer the repayment period. Hire purchase charges are on the initial balance throughout, whilst Credit Societies operate at a lower rate of interest and on a monthly reducing balance.
Reprinted from Conquest, Y.C.W. Melbourne, April-June, 1945 Vol. 1 No 2, pp 16-17.
Edward James Long OAM. (1921-2008) was central to the YCW Co-operative Movement in Victoria - the YCW Co-operative Trading Society was formed in 1948 with Ted Long assuming the secretarial duties in 1951, the Association of Catholic Co-operative Credit Societies (ACCCS) was formed in 1957 with Ted as its first Secretary and in 1961 Ted was the foundation secretary of the Co-operative Development Society, formed to develop educational programs and promotional materials for all forms of co-operatives.