Welsh credit unions celebrated their successes at the Credit Unions of Wales awards – and the night included honours for two individual contributions to the movement.
Credit Unions of Wales hosts the annual awards to celebrate the contribution made by credit union volunteers, members, schools and partner employers.
Among this year’s winners was Ian Gylee, president of the Treorchy-based Dragonsavers, who was given a lifetime achievement award.
He has been involved in the credit union movement for more than 20 years when he was part of the small steering group that later became Border Vale Credit Union.
Following the merger of the five credit unions in Rhondda Cynon Taf in 2003, Ian has continued to serve on the board and accepted the position of president of Dragonsavers.
Mr Gylee, aged said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed to receive this award which I accept on behalf of all of the staff, members and volunteers at Dragonsavers Credit Union.
“They work incredibly hard to ensure the ongoing success of the credit union movement and the many financial services we have available to the public.”
And a highlight of the night was the award for a member making a difference, which went to Cardiff & Vale Credit Union (CVCU) member, Suzie Chetri.
Suzie joined CVCU in 2012 and applied for a loan as a young legal professional with accrued student debt and no savings. CVCU granted the loan, but told Suzie she would have to cut her spending so she could repay the loan and improve her financial situation. Suzie took the advice, cleared her loan and transformed her financial situation.
She was so appreciative of the credit union’s help, she joined its board in 2013. Since then, she has gone to the press to share her experience as a young professional in debt, and how becoming a credit union member has improved her life.
CVCU estimates that Suzie will have helped make payroll schemes available to the workplaces of a further 3,000 employees by the end of 2018.
CVCU chief executive Leanne Herberg was interviewed by ITV news to promote credit unions in Wales, and told Suzie’s story.
“The awards ceremony was a great opportunity for us to showcase the great work across Wales of credit unions, our partners and supporters,” she said. “We are proud of all the deserving winners and finalists, and especially proud of our director Suzie for winning the national Member Making a Difference category.
“Suzie is fearless and open about how she experienced debt and over-spending as a young graduate professional, and how a loan with us turned her situation from being significantly in debt into a keen saver. We hope that Suzie sharing her story so openly on Welsh news will encourage others to find out more about their credit union and how we change lives.”
Find out more about the awards and the other winners on the Credit Unions of Wales website.