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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.

Elizabeth-Crouch-1cElizabeth Crouch AM, Independent Chair

Elizabeth is the Chair of the Customer Owned Banking Association and SGS Economics and Planning and in July retired as the Deputy Chancellor of Macquarie University after 17 years on the University’s governing Council.  She held previous roles on the Boards of Chandler Macleod Group, McGrath Estate Agents, RailCorp, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and the Macquarie University Hospital.

Ms Crouch is on the Board of Health Infrastructure and the Western Sydney Local Health District and currently chairs the NSW Government’s Non-Government Schools Advisory Council.  In 2018 she was appointed to the NSW Institute for Sport.

Elizabeth is a respected executive coach and moderator for the Orijen Group and spent 16 years with the Federal government before moving into the private sector, where she held various positions including as Chief Executive of the Housing Industry Association. 

She chairs audit committees for the City of Sydney, the Office of Environment and Heritage and RailCorp and works with Optimize International, a strategic consultancy firm.  She also supports a range of community and sporting bodies including as the Chair of the Womens’ University Rugby 7s and Deputy Chair of the Macquarie University Sydney Rays rugby franchise. 

Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Economics and is currently completing a Masters of Cyber Security.

Steve-Chugg-1cSteve Chugg, Director
Chief Operating Officer, 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 Operating Officer, Beyond Bank Australia, Melbourne

Ashley holds the role of COO of Beyond Bank Australia following the merger between Nexus Mutual (EECU Limited) and Beyond Bank Australia in March 2020.  Prior to the merger, Ashley was the CEO of Nexus Mutual.  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).

Peter-Lock-1cPeter Lock, Director
Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Bank, Toowoomba

Mr Peter Lock has been the CEO of Heritage Bank since 2015. Mr Lock has more than 30 years' experience in the financial services industry, spanning insurance, institutional banking, business development, business banking and corporate banking. He has held senior management roles at the Bank of Melbourne, St George Bank, and the Commonwealth Bank, following a career with the National Australia Bank. He has also run his own corporate advisory firm.

Mr Lock is a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA), and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He sits on the Board of Australian Settlements Limited (ASL) and the Board of Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE).

Mr Lock holds a Bachelor of Business and Master of Business Administration from the University of South Australia, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance from the Finance and Securities Institute of Australia and has completed the AsiaLink Leaders Program.

Darlene-Mattiske-Wood-1cDarlene Mattiske-Wood, Director
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Military Bank, Sydney
Dip Nursing, Dip Management, BA Management, Grad Dip Mgt (HR), CAHRI, MAICD

Darlene was appointed as People’s Choice Deputy Chief Executive in February 2016. As Chief Strategy, Marketing and People Officer, Darlene is responsible for the development and implementation of the People’s Choice Strategic Plan as well as the leadership of the credit union’s strategies for People and Culture, Marketing & Products, Communications & Public Affairs, Member Experience and the transformation framework to develop and deliver a new Member Centric Target Operating Model. Darlene is also a director of Mutual Market Place representing People’s Choice in the Joint Venture Procurement company.

Darlene has 14 years’ executive experience within the Mutual Sector focused on People and Culture, operational leadership and change management. She also has more than 20 years’ experience as a strategic leader reporting at the CEO and Board level in both private and public organisations. Her functional responsibilities have included transformational change management, strategy, human resource management and organisational development, stakeholder relations, marketing and customer operations. Darlene completed the advanced management program with Harvard University and she has received the following recognition:

  • The 2016 Telstra Business Women’s Award, Corporate & Private South Australian;
  • Finalist in the 2017 National Retail Banking Awards for Executive of the Year;
  • Australian Human Resource Institute (AHRI) 2008 People Leadership and People StrategyAwards.

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 formerly 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 is the Chief Executive Officer of the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), the industry body for Australia’s credit unions, building societies and mutual banks, following his appointment on 4 December 2017.

In April 2018, Mike became a Director of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the peak international body for the credit union movement globally and in 2019 was appointed a Director of the Australian Mutuals Foundation.

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.

Mike is passionate about community involvement and using his skills that have been acquired over a very fortunate career in playing his part in helping others, more recently as Vice Chair of Heart Research Australia and the many activities associated with Special Needs.

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 leads 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 is passionate about women's economic empowerment, financial literacy and a firm believer that business can be a force for good to improve the lives of people and communities. She mentors young women through the Beacon Foundation's My Road Program and the Mentor Walks program and has previously served 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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