Swansea Building Society has opened a new branch in Carmarthen and hired a well-known banking professional with 30 years’ experience in the region to run it.
The building society has invested £300,000 in redeveloping the premises at 13-14 Lammas Street, Carmarthen. The new office represents the company’s third branch, complementing its head office in Swansea and branch office in Mumbles launched in 2010.
The new branch will become the regional hub for Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, and Ceredigion.
It has hired well known banking executive Sioned Jones as branch manager of the Carmarthen office. Jones has previously worked for HSBC in Wales for more than 30 years.
She will be supported in role by Alan Ellerton, area manager for Mumbles and Carmarthen, and Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society.
The new office has also created six new jobs in the new branch, recruited six local people all based in Carmarthenshire five of whom are Welsh speakers.
The new staff comprise assistant Anne Lewis and cashiers Ffion Williams, Eirlys Jones, Rachel Norris and Gill Lewis.
The new branch hit the ground running. In its first two weeks, its staff opened 66 new accounts with a combined value of nearly £1 million.
Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, said he believed the Society’s traditional style of face-to-face customer service particularly for new mortgages would be appreciated in West Wales. He has also not ruled out a further branch eventually being opened in Pembrokeshire or Ceredigion.
On a personal note, the move takes his own career full circle. Early in his career, he was an assistant manager for the Bank of Wales based in Carmarthen.
Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said:
“Carmarthen is strategically well located to develop our business in the wider West Wales area. Haverfordwest and Cardigan are both located approximately 30 miles from Carmarthen and both of these important West Wales market towns can be serviced from Carmarthen.
“We have always had a commitment that we would eventually open a branch in Carmarthen, and it is fantastic that this has now become reality. We thought really hard about opening the new branch and we hired all local people who know the area and the community very well, and know what is going on.
“When the decision was made to open the new office and we knew how much work needed doing do the building, we sourced a number of local suppliers to help us through the process. As we are taking local money and lending money locally we use local solicitors and valuers instead of bringing people in from other areas of the UK, we work in tandem with our customers solicitors so they know they are in safe hands.”
On her move to Swansea Building Society, Sioned Jones said:
“I am going back to traditional banking values where we are working with the community, for the community. The society provides a traditional banking service in the modern era, and they treat customers like they are kings and queens. It also shows how much the business is focused on the local community when all of the staff are from the area and all bar one speak Welsh.”