Large-scale investment in technology at Torfaen and Monmouthshire-based Gateway Credit Union is already reaping dividends for its members.
The digital transformation, made possible with investment by Welsh Government, started in June and has already led to a rise in both people wanting to join the credit union and loan applications, according to Gateway manager Sara Burch.
“The investment in our IT back-office system and website has improved the experience for members and those wanting to join Gateway.
“This investment is particularly well-timed with the cost-of-living crisis, and we are in no doubt that it will help us grow the credit union to offer ethical and affordable savings and loans to more people across Torfaen and Monmouthshire.”
The credit union received funding from Welsh Government to enable the IT investment and expand its loan capacity.
Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said:
“It’s great to see Gateway Credit Union investing in digital technology to attract new members and improve their service. This upgrade, including the mobile app, is customer focused and will bring affordable lending and savings products within easy reach of the people of Torfaen and Monmouthshire.”
As the chair of the Credit Unions of Wales IT Group, Sara believes that the digital investment is vital to help credit unions compete with high-cost lenders.
“We are competing in an increasingly digitalised market, people expect to be able to conduct transactions and access services easily and securely online,”
“As financial cooperatives we are focussed on serving our members and ensuring our services are affordable, but that can mean that large-scale investments of this kind are difficult to make without financial support.”
Gateway, which has offices in Pontypool, Chepstow, Cwmbran and Abergavenny, celebrated its 25th anniversary in May.
As a financial cooperative, Gateway Credit Union is owned by its members, the people who save and borrow with it, and there are no external shareholders.
The credit union offers safe, ethical savings, which are guaranteed up to £85,000 under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and affordable loans from £100 up to £10,000.