Tributes for credit union stalwart

SOUTH West Credit Union has paid tribute to one of its longest-serving directors who died this week.

Alan O'Connor: 34 years on the South West Credit Union board.

Alan O'Connor: 34 years on the South West Credit Union board.

Alan O’Connor spent 34 years as a director of the credit union, including 14 years on the board of the Fletcher Jones Credit Union which merged with South West Credit Union (SWCU) in 1990.

Chief executive officer David Brown said Mr O’Connor carried out a variety of roles on the board, including terms as chairman and audit committee chairman.

“Alan’s experience and knowledge in matters of finance saw him play a key role in guiding SWCU through three decades of growth and prosperity which has positioned the credit union as Warrnambool’s locally-owned and operated banking institution,” Mr Brown said. 

Acting chairman Robert Lane said Mr O’Connor was respected by fellow board members and employees for his dedication and financial knowledge.

“During Alan’s time there were significant events both locally and nationally that impacted on the credit union,” Mr Lane said.

They included the Ash Wednesday bushfires, a recession in 1983, the stockmarket crash of 1987, interest rates reaching 15 per cent, the introduction of internet banking in 2001 and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

“Sadly Alan passed away before he could enjoy the credit union’s 50th anniversary celebrations that will be held later this year.”

Mr O’Connor also served on the board of Premier Speedway for four years in the early 2000s.

President Richard Parkinson said Mr O’Connor was instrumental in bringing the club out of the “dark ages from the pen and pencil days to a computerised accounting system”.

Mr O’Connor volunteered on race nights, hosting the hospitality area, welcoming corporate guests and conducting infield tours. He also developed a post-race system spreadsheet tracking income from each area of speedway operations.

Mr O’Connor’s professional career included stints in a bank, a car dealership, with Fletcher Jones and at The Standard as finance manager before he began his own business.

In recent times he was involved with establishing the Warrnambool and District Ostomy Association which provides support for those with the type of cancer he was fighting.

Mr O’Connor is survived by his wife Helen, two children and five grandchildren.

His funeral will be held at Christ Church on Monday morning.

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