Welsh Labour MP Gerald Jones has praised the long-serving staff of his village credit union as the backbone of the community.
The MP for Merthyr and Rhymney and Shadow Wales Office Minister marked 20 years of the credit union presence in Phillipstown, and thanked its dedicated staff for their hard work and professionalism.
A local resident and also a member of the credit union, Mr Jones said the movement was essential in bringing financial services to communities, especially where there is no high street bank. “International Credit Union Day is a chance to recognise the work of credit unions across the globe in providing trusted, local access to financial services.
We’re lucky in Wales to have a range of credit unions, staffed largely by volunteers, and rooted in the communities they serve.” he said.
Mr Jones added: “The credit union collection point here in Phillipstown, run by Smart Money Cymru, has been a feature of community life for the past 20 years. This has only been possible thanks to people giving their time freely to help their neighbours.
“I’m incredibly grateful to Sue and Sue for all their work over two decades and I’m pleased to have been able to join Mark and Terri from Smart Money Cymru in recognising their dedication.”
The service was taken over by Smart Money Cymru Community Bank some years ago and is operated weekly by Susan Higgs and Susan Davies.
Mark White, CEO of Smart Money Cymru, echoed Mr Jones’ sentiments. “This is a very important facility, particularly as high street banks are closing their branches and without it local people would struggle to access banking services.
“We offer digital banking, but some people prefer to deal with their finances personally and they have this option here if they wish.”
Smart Money Cymru has branches in Caerphilly, Blackwood and Tredegar and is planning to open more local outlets for remote communities in the near future.
“We are delighted to continue to serve the people of Phillipstown, who are some of the 8000 members we have around Wales, and we are committed to upgrading our technical capabilities and the range of financial services we offer.”
Smart Money Cymru recently launched its innovative Smart Goods service which allows members to buy more than 5000 items from the home including washing machines and televisions using loans provided by the Credit Union.