Smart Money Cymru is the first Credit Union in Wales to join an influential body to promote technological development in financial services.
FinTech Wales exists to champion the financial services industry and give it an independent, global voice. The organisation has a large number of Members across the industry in Wales including banks, insurers, accountancy firms, universities and utility companies.
As well as nurturing and supporting FinTech companies, the aim is to create a culture to help new entrants launch and scale-up to maximise the huge potential of this sector for Wales.
“FinTech Wales is a key part of the financial services sector in Wales and is dedicated to growing and developing this vital industry, and we are delighted to have become a member,” said Mark White CEO of Smart Money Cymru, the credit union and community bank with 8000 members and branches in Caerphilly, Blackwood and Tredegar.
During Lockdown, Smart Money Cymru seized the opportunity of down-time to upgrade its financial technology, moving from being “paper-led” to offering a digitised experience to members.
“The starting point for Smart Money was grasping an opportunity funded by Welsh Government for a small group of Welsh credit unions to adopt a new loan processing platform so that Members could apply for loans online.
“The technology was provided through our existing operating software providers and that gave us a great springboard from which to start our journey.
“Overnight, our average loan processing went down from four days to under 24 hours. Our aim and next step will be implementation of fully-automated loan application decisioning and processing, available to customers 24/7”.
Investment in new digital platforms led to an immediate, positive response from the communities in Caerphilly, Islwyn and Blaenau Gwent served by Smart Money Cymru, as well as clients in other parts of Wales. “In the last year we increased membership by 44% and nearly doubled our loans to Members; also deposits are up by 50%, and our revenue income rose by 45%,” added Mr White.
Smart Money Cymru is, he said, on a digital journey to modernise and upgrade its offering as its membership increases, and this was the principal reason for joining the FinTech Wales network.
“As the cost of living continues to squeeze people’s budgets we continue to support our local communities, and clients around Wales, with our innovative services for our Members,” added Mr White. These include a new Credit Builder loan for those who don’t have a perfect credit record, and the innovative Smart Goods scheme for buying household goods such as fridges and cookers using loans from Smart Money Cymru.
“There are many ways we can help, especially during these difficult times. Our membership is growing all the time and we are continuously improving our services and technical offering to help our Members.”