As Christmas approaches, Smart Money Cymru’s newest branch is encouraging local residents to call in and see what help is on offer at this challenging time of year.
Manager of the Community Bank’s branch at Penywaun near Aberdare is Eleri Walters who was born and lives in the locality.
“At this time of year finances of families and individuals are stretched to the limit and we are here to help,” she said.
“We are working to prevent people being shut out from essential financial services and provide the banking services that everyone needs and deserves in a welcoming and accessible fashion,” she said.
“We offer ethical loans, a safe place to keep savings with an annual dividend and other financial services at a time when traditional banks are, sadly, closing their doors and withdrawing from communities across Wales and the UK”.
She added that as Christmas approaches, many people will struggle and fall into the hands of unlicensed and illegal lenders. “Taking these loans is only a short -term solution storing up problems for the future, and we would encourage local people to come and see what we can offer to help give them financial stability,” she added.
The branch, which opened earlier this year is based at the newly-refurbished Hwb Cana.
Smart Money Cymru also has branches in Caerphilly, Tredegar, Blackwood, Brecon and Llandrindod Wells, and the new Penywaun branch covers the Cynon Valley.
Eleri is working to spread the word that Community Banks are increasingly important in the face of growing financial and economic problems. She is calling for volunteers to work at the new Smart Money Cymru hubs being established in local primary schools and other locations around the valley and further afield.
Mark White, CEO of Smart Money Cymru, said the Community Bank was committed to expanding its services across Wales and supporting people who were, he said, in danger of being left behind by the present banking system. “We have almost 11,000 members who use our network of branches and are rapidly expanding as people see the benefits of joining,” he said.
With support from Welsh Government, the Community Bank and Credit Union sector is continually upgrading its systems and offering ever more sophisticated financial products to a growing membership.
Members using the new Smart Money Cymru facility at Hwb Cana will have access to the popular Smart Goods Scheme under which a catalogue of 5000 household items including white goods and televisions can be purchased using loans from the Community Bank.
“We are looking forward to welcoming new customers to Hwb Cana and offering them convenient, local financial services to enhance their lives and offering an essential service to the community,” added Mr White.
“Please drop in for a chat and see what we can offer.”