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Board & Management



The Customer Owned Banking Association is governed by a board of directors elected by our member credit unions, mutual banks and building societies.

Wendy-Machin-1cWendy Machin, Chair
B.A. (UTS), M.Comm (UNSW), GAICD

Wendy Machin is non-executive Director and has served on several Boards over the past 15 years in the government, not-for-profit and private sector.  Wendy is currently Chair of the Customer Owned Banking Association, Chair of the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust and Chair of ANCAP.  She is also a Director of the NSW Forestry Corporation.  She retired at the conclusion of her 12 year term as an NRMA Director in March 2017.  In that time she served as President for 6 years and also served as a Director of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA).

Wendy Machin was the first woman National Party MP in the NSW Legislative Assembly. Between 1985 and 1996 she served as a Cabinet Minister, a Shadow Minister and as Deputy Speaker of the House. Wendy has run her own consulting business and has also worked in-house in a range of companies and industry associations.  She was the Deputy Chair of the Australian Republican Movement from 1998 to 2000 and a delegate to the 1999 Constitutional Convention. In the past she has served on the ANZ Stadium Advisory Board, the Boards of Destination NSW, Save the Children and the National Council for Prevention of Child Abuse.  For 4 years from 2004 Wendy was a Member of the Migration and Refugee Review Tribunal.

Wendy owns and operates beef cattle properties in the Manning Valley.  She has a strong interest in disability services, and is married with 3 adult children.

Jane-Calder-1cJane Calder, Director
Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Heritage Bank, Toowoomba

Jane Calder is the Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Heritage Bank, where she has accountability for marketing, communications and community sponsorship, digital channels, product development and management and customer experience. A seasoned marketing professional with over 30 years experience in both marketing consulting and client side roles in Australia and in the UK, her speciality is financial services marketing.  Jane has worked for organisations in mutual retail banking, wealth management, health insurance and general insurance.

She is particularly passionate about using customer insights to drive communications, product design and customer experiences to maximise customer value and satisfaction.

Steve-Chugg-1cSteve Chugg, Director
Chief of Transformation & Subsidiaries, CUA, Brisbane

Steve has more than 20 years’ experience in banking operations in Australia, including a variety of executive roles spanning both the listed bank and mutual sector. During the past 2½ years at Australia’s largest credit union, CUA, Steve has held the roles of Chief Operating Officer and more recently Chief Financial Officer. He is passionate about the future of the mutual sector – in particular, Steve has been active in exploring mutual collaboration opportunities and has played a leading role in industry advocacy on sector issues such as capital reform for mutual ADIs.  Steve is also a strong advocate for greater industry level collaboration.

Steve is a Director on the Board of Mutual Marketplace. He is also a Director of Credicorp Finance Pty Ltd, CUA Health Ltd and Chairman of CUA Management Pty Ltd (formerly Financial Planning Pty Ltd). 

Steve has extensive experience in strategic management, change leadership, building strong and engaged teams, and delivering positive customer outcomes and strong financial returns.

Nick-Harrison-1cNicolas Harrison, Director
Director, Summerland Credit Union, Lismore

Nicolas Harrison is a Barrister-at-Law, a Company Director and a Local Government Misconduct Investigator. He joined the Summerland Board in 2003, became Deputy Chair in July 2007 and Chair in December 2008, as position he held for 10 years.

He has been a legal practitioner for 45 years with a background in criminal law, ethics, administrative law and military discipline law. His specific interests are in Board processes, ethical behaviour and the art of good communication.

Ashley-Hood-1cAshley Hood, Director
Chief Executive Officer, Nexus Mutual, Melbourne

Ashley is CEO of Nexus Mutual (EECU Limited).  He is a banker with over 25 years' experience, having held senior executive roles at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and executive director roles in various of the bank's subsidiary and joint venturers companies.

He brings deep experience of the practical and technical operations of financial institutions, together with a strategic perspective on market trends and developments. His career at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank spanned all major areas of the bank's operations, including retail, business banking, wealth, products, operations, risk, innovation, M&A and strategy.

Ashley is passionate about the customer and improving the prosperity and capacity of the communities he serves.

In addition to his experience at the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Ashley has been a Principal of the financial service consulting practice at Deloitte as well as enjoying a successful career at nab.

Ashley is a graduate of the University of Queensland and is also a Fellow at the Financial Services Institute of Australia (FINSIA).

Stephen-Nugent-1cStephen Nugent, Director
Chairman, Community First Credit Union, Sydney
B Bus. (Marketing), Grad Cert Internet Mkt., AFAMI, JP, AMP (Harvard)

Stephen Nugent joined the Community First Credit Union Board as a Director in May 2002, and has been Chair since November 2015. Stephen has more than 35 years experience in the finance and insurance industries and was formally the Chief Customer Officer for The Hospital Contributions Fund of Australia Limited (HCF).

Stephen brings to the Board a wide range of experience in project and operations management, process improvement, IT systems development to improve processes in ehealth, sales, marketing, customer service, financial management, retirement, home care and aged care, strategic planning and compliance.

Elsbeth-Torelli-1cElsbeth Torelli, Director
Chief Risk Officer, Bank First, Melbourne

Elsbeth has substantial executive experience at Bank First where she is Chief Risk Officer. Elsbeth is a qualified Accountant and Fellow of the IPA and holds a Certificate in Business Studies – Law. She is a member of FINSIA and AICD.

Elsbeth has been actively involved in the sector’s capital raising initiatives since 2004 and has a very good appreciation of the journey and challenges in raising capital under the requirements of APRA and ASIC. She has been involved on a number of industry working group initiatives and representations on regulatory and government policy fronts. Elsbeth has also been a Director of Traditional Credit Union and of Instil (AM Institute Ltd).

Therese-Turner-1cTherese Turner, Director
Chief Executive Officer, MOVE Bank, Brisbane

Therese is the CEO of MOVE Bank, based in Brisbane. She has previously held the CEO role at My Credit Union, Quay, Capital and Sutherland Credit Unions, as well as a senior executive position at Illawarra Credit Union. 

Therese is highly committed to the ideals and goals of the sector, with over 30 years experience in the mutual banking industry.  During her career, she has been pivotal in driving change for positive outcomes by delivering profitable organic growth, efficient and compliant operations and improved member value. 

She holds a Master of Business Administration and is a qualified accountant.


The management team of the Customer Owned Banking Association.


Michael Lawrence
Chief Executive Officer

Mike was appointed to COBA as CEO on 4 December 2017.

Mike has over 30 years experience in financial services, primarily gained with AMP Bank and National Australia Bank.

He was Managing Director of AMP Bank for 8 years and was responsible for all day to day operations of the organisation, together with the responsibilities associated with running an ADI.

Prior to joining AMP Bank Mike spent a short period for Westpac within Working Capital & Trade Solutions, which consisted of delivering International Trade, Merchant Acquiring and Payment products to each of the distribution channels within Westpac.

Before Westpac, Mike was General Manager Third Party Business where he was directly accountable for running National Australia Bank’s third party banking business. In this role Mike was responsible for the end to end mortgage origination business covering product manufacturing, operations and distribution.

Prior to this, Mike undertook senior roles in all distribution channels of banking, namely, Corporate, Commercial and Retail and having done so across three continents, Australia, UK and USA.


Dominic Dunn
Head of Corporate & Business Services
Company Secretary

Dominic is a member of the COBA executive team, with responsibility for a range of commercial services for members as well as COBA’s internal corporate services. He has worked in the customer owned banking sector for more than 20 years before which he worked in various strategy and risk roles at a major bank.

Luke-Lawler-1cLuke Lawler
Director - Policy

Luke has been with the Customer Owned Banking Association and its predecessors since their formation and has been an advocate for the credit union industry since 1996. He has an MBA and before joining the customer owned banking sector was a journalist with the ABC and media adviser to a senior Federal Minister.

Sally-Mackenzie-1cSally Mackenzie
Director - Strategy & Stakeholders

Sally Mackenzie is Director – Strategy and Stakeholders at the Customer Owned Banking Association – the industry association for Australia’s credit unions, building societies and mutual banks. She lead’s COBA’s lobbying and advocacy agenda, working to achieve a more competitive banking market. 

Sally has worked in the public and private sectors across the Asia Pacific. She has worked in banking and finance domestically and off-shore for NSW Treasury and as an advisor to the Thai, Philippines and Mongolian governments.  She is also an experienced diplomat, having worked in the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and High Commission in Honiara. Sally also serves as Deputy Chair of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre.

Leanne-Vale-1cLeanne Vale
Director - Services & Financial Crimes

Leanne Vale is Director Services and Financial Crimes for Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA). She joined the industry association more than 15 years ago to spearhead the industry’s first centralised fraud prevention advisory role.

Leanne has lead teams and held senior fraud management roles within Australian major and regional banks in addition to mutual building societies and credit unions. An experienced practitioner across key areas of regulatory compliance areas she has also held internal audit and compliance management roles and brings a unique cross disciplinary approach to challenges facing the sector. Leanne’s financial crimes experience spans some 25 years and includes developing tailored fraud risk management strategies, authoring training and building partnerships in both public and private sector.

A former sworn Australian Federal Police officer Leanne holds a Diploma Finance, Graduate Diploma and Master of Business Administration and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) qualifications. Today COBA’s Financial Crimes team is the customer owned banking sector’s trusted brand for fraud prevention and education providing a wide range of risk management advisory services across product and payment channels including Employee fraud.


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