Co-op Money NZ chairman Steve Nichols has quit the board of the credit union industry body after just over a month in the job as the cooperative gets more embroiled in a legal dispute over whether it's providing services to non-members.

Nichols handed in his notice today, effective immediately, after joining the board in February, Co-op Money said in a statement. Deputy chair Claire Matthews will fill in until a permanent replacement is named. Co-op Money is the trading name of the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions.

His exit comes after reports this week of a March High Court judgment where it emerged a former Co-op member, Westforce Credit Union, became concerned the industry group was providing services to non-members, which Westforce said was against the law and created a financial risk for members. It complained to the Registrar of Friendly Societies and Credit Unions, which determined Co-op Money was only allowed to offer those services to members, a decision the cooperative is appealing.

Matthews said Nichols' exit was because Co-op Money had a hole in the board that he couldn't fill.


"Steve's 20 years' financial and insurance experience was excellent but he resigned because he felt at this point in Co-op Money NZ's critical transformation arising from its modernisation strategy that his recent introduction to the credit union industry sector left a gap for the board," Matthews said. "Steve felt it was better to vacate his role as the responsible thing to do and open it up to someone with more experience in the credit union sector."