Welsh credit union beats national trends on growth

Smart Money Cymru Credit Union saw a 35% increase in loans and grew its membership by 4% in the first half of 2021

Smart Money Cymru Credit Union (SMCCU) has bucked national trends in key areas of lending, membership and asset growth.

Bank of England (BoE) figures reveal that, in the six months to June, SMCCU saw a significant 35% increase in loans to members. In Wales, credit union lending rose 9% and in England, it increased by 2%.

CEO Mark White said: “As a whole Welsh credit unions are helping their clients emerge from the very difficult times we have endured with a significant rise in loans.

“Smart Money Cymru, though, has performed beyond all expectations, helping its members with timely and affordable lending. These BoE figures make excellent reading for us.”

SMCCU, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary and has offices in Caerphilly, Blackwood and Tredegar, has also outperformed the UK and Wales in terms of membership growth. In the UK the total membership for the sector was virtually unchanged at 1.9 million – but in Wales, credit union membership fell by 5.78% to 66,000 in the BoE statistical period.

But SMCCU increased membership by just under 4%, in addition to the extra membership from recent mergers with Blackwood and Plaid Cymru credit unions.

Savings have also risen, with SMCCU assets up nearly 5%, while Welsh credit unions had shown a rise of 1.45%.

Improved technology and services were also supporting the growth of the SMCCU, said Mr White. These include a phone app for balance-checking, access to a current account which supports direct debits, standing orders and processing of card payments.

The loan process has also been streamlined enabling members to apply online from home.