A leading South Wales valleys credit union has expanded its membership by merging with the Plaid Cymru credit union.
Caerphilly-headquartered Smart Money Cymru was specifically chosen by the smaller Undeb Credyd Plaid Cymru Credit Union as a new home for its membership.
Stuart Fisher, director of Plaid Cymru Credit Union, said: “We could have chosen to join up with any credit union in Wales but in Smart Money Cymru we have chosen a forward-thinking, progressive and modern credit union for the benefit of our members.”
CEO of Smart Money Cymru (SMCCU) Mark White said they were delighted to have been chosen as the merger partner.
The latest move follows a similar merger in July of the Islwyn Credit Union with Smart Money Cymru.
Mr White said: “We’re very pleased that the Plaid Cymru Credit Union decided to come to us when looking for a merger partner.”
He said Smart Money Cymru’s range of services and products were attractive to the smaller union, in particular its plans to move to offering more digital solutions for its members.
Smart Money Cymru has just celebrated 30 years of serving the community. In that time it has grown into a sophisticated organisation offering a wide variety of financial services to individuals, businesses and charities.
Credit Unions, said Mr White, played an important, but sometimes undervalued role in communities.
He said: “The CU philosophy is to be financially sympathetic to its members and offer fair and reasonable access to finance and financial services where we can.”
The new members from PCCU would enjoy a wide range of opening hours and financial services, including a phone app for balance checking, access to an Engage Current Account which supports direct debits, standing orders and card payment processing. Members can now apply for loans online, streamlining the system.
Smart Money Cymru’s Invisible Saver works with many businesses helping their worforce to save through payroll deductions. “This allows businesses to help their staff build financial security and is becoming increasingly popular,” added Mr White.
He said PCCU was also attracted to Smart Money Cymru’s commitment to playing a key role in social and town centre regeneration through the presence of its three town centre branches – in Caerphilly, Tredegar and Blackwood – and its plan to continue expanding its face-to-face services alongside online solutions.
A total of 309 members have now transferred from the Plaid Cymru Credit Union and joined the 6,000 strong membership of SMCCU.
The Plaid Cymru Credit Union was first registered in 1984 and at its height had a membership of 600 – including senior figures in the political party, and administered loans totalling £2m.
But due to the lack of members wishing to serve at board level and the increasing amount of regulation the credit union decided to seek a merger.
Mark White said the new arrangements would mean the new expanded Smart Money Cymru would continue to “develop the principles of community-led, mutually and cooperatively-owned banking models as a viable alternative to mainstream commercial banking and a way of creating a more inclusive society.”