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Community Bank’s progress highlighted in Awards Finals

Smart Money Cymru: excellent progress in service and technology underlining important role of Credit Unions. Picture by Nick Treharne

The remarkable progress of a Valleys Community Bank is being recognised in the upcoming finals of the Social Business Wales Awards.

Smart Money Cymru is a finalist in two categories of the prestigious event – Tech for Good and Team of the Year. The awards are part of the Social Business Wales Project which highlights and honours the best social businesses in Wales, and winners go through to the next round of the UK-wide event.

Mark White CEO of Smart Money Cymru said he was delighted that the hard work of his staff, coupled with digital innovation in recent years, were being recognised and that their presence in the Finals would serve to highlight the role of the Welsh Credit Union Movement.

Finalists in the nine categories are from a spectrum of organisations around Wales, each making an important contribution to social cohesion.  “I am honoured that, as a Credit Union, we are underlining the important role of the movement in these awards as the only finalist from this sector.

“During Lockdown we took the time to conduct a thorough review of the organisation, to see how we could better serve our customers. We saw we needed to embrace digitisation by providing more up to date financial services, and, with some support from Welsh Government, we have done that.”

As well as technical advances, Smart Money Cymru’s team works hard to deliver a high standard of customer service supported by regular training for staff across all locations in Caerphilly, Blackwood and Tredegar.”

“It is excellent to have these two, vital aspects of our offer recognised in these awards.”

Smart Money Cymru’s membership has risen to over 8000 as more people understand the important role Credit Unions can play in helping them and their families to access fair and equitable financial services.

“Financial exclusion is a terrible problem and can be a trap that is hard to escape from,” added Mr White.

With this in mind, Smart Money Cymru is offering a new product, Credit Builder which aims to extend credit to people who have not been able to access loans elsewhere, and may even have been turned down recently by other lenders due to poor borrowing histories.

But now loans of up to £400 are being made widely available for new members of Smart Money Cymru, and to members who haven’t yet taken out a loan, even if their credit status is not good.

Another way in which Smart Money helps is through the Smart Goods scheme, which gives members access to an online catalogue of more than 5000 home products including white goods, delivered to the door.

“We are working hard to find new ways to assist our Members and we are delighted to discuss how joining can benefit you and your family,” added Mr White.

The Social Business Wales Awards Final will be held in October at Swansea Arena.