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Volunteering accolade for growing Welsh Community Bank

Mark White Smart Money Cymru CEO. Picture by Nick Treharne

Wales’ fastest growing Community Bank has gained Investing in Volunteers accreditation.

Smart Money Cymru passed the rigorous assessments for the award, and CEO Mark White is delighted. “We rely heavily on our volunteers and are obviously very pleased to have achieved this status.”

Smart Money Cymru has 18 full and part-time volunteers across its 12 sites in South and Mid Wales, playing a vital part in its day-to-day operations supporting the organisation’s 14,000 Members, working alongside staff.

The Community Bank has grown rapidly from its base in Caerphilly, having recently merged with Newport, Brecon and Red Kite Credit Union in Llandrindod Wells. The expansion programme has seen premises relocated and refurbished, along with improved financial technology to give Members a high level of banking services and access to loans and savings accounts.

“There have been a lot of changes in the last few years, which have called for staff and volunteers alike to adapt and upskill,” said Mr White. “We have been delighted by their response, and this award confirms objectively that our systems for volunteering are working well.

“Community Banks like ours are becoming ever more important as mainstream banks close their branches, particularly in rural areas and we are becoming a popular alternative. We are expanding and upgrading our offer and this is why we are growing so quickly.”

A selection of Smart Money Cymru volunteers were interviewed for the IiV accreditation to discuss their experience working with the organisation. Their views of the workplace and their roles were overwhelmingly positive.

Mr White said within the range of views expressed, a strong theme was pride in supporting the local community. “Many felt they were playing an important part in their localities, helping people understand how the Community Bank could help bring financial stability,” he said.

“In particular, volunteers with us are pleased to encourage young people to save and to promote good financial habits,” he added.

“There are many reasons to volunteer, bringing a great many benefits to the individual, the organisation they choose to support and of course the community. We depend on them, and would encourage anyone interested to come in for a chat at one of our branches or to visit the website smartmoneycymru.co.uk for more information,” added Mr White.