Smart Money Cymru’s Blackwood branch has reopened after a refurbishment during Lockdown.
The former Islwyn Credit Union in Blackwood, now part of the larger Smart Money Cymru Credit Union network in Caerphilly and Tredegar with over 7000 members, has been refitted and improved for its customers. It will be open, initially every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
While many traditional banks are retreating from Britain’s high streets and closing branches, the Blackwood credit union now has a new, upgraded interior and better facilities for staff, following grant support from the Welsh Government and Caerphilly County Borough Council for the works.
As well as its new, fresh look, the branch now boasts improved technology which has enabled a wider range of financial services as part of Smart Money Cymru Credit Union. Customers now benefit from a phone app for balance-checking and access to the Engage Current Account which supports direct debits, standing orders, and processing of card payments.
Chair of Smart Money Cymru, Alun Taylor, said:
“We are delighted to be reopening the Blackwood office to serve the locality once more. Customers will now find an improved premises, with access to a wider range of financial services through the Smart Money Cymru network.”
Smart Money Cymru recently celebrated 30 years, having grown into a sophisticated organisation offering a wide variety of financial services to individuals, business and charities.
“Credit Unions offer a wider range of financial services than many people expect,” said Mr Taylor. “The CU philosophy is to be financially sympathetic to its members and offer fair and reasonable access to finance and financial services where possible.”
He explained that Credit Unions, in contrast to typical High Street banks, had a flexible and collaborative approach to lending to their members.
“We have a broader, more sympathetic policy which looks at the individual circumstances of potential borrowers. Lending decisions are not based on credit ratings alone, but on a wider financial picture.”
Credit Union loans are at fair and reasonable rates, and usually come with free protection insurance. As a not-for-profit organisation, a Credit Union returns profits to members, rather than paying them out to shareholders.
Services to the local business community include payroll saving. In Wales more than 140 companies take advantage of this scheme, through the Credit Union network enabling their workforce to save regularly, and to be able to apply for loans at the same time.