A South Wales Community Bank has opened a new branch offering full banking services in one of the most deprived areas of South Wales.
Smart Money Cymru Community Bank now has a presence in the newly refurbished-Hwb Cana in Penywaun in the Cynon Valley, enabling local people to access loans and other financial services, along with the other facilities the new centre provides.
At Hwb Cana’s official opening, the MP for Cynon Valley, Beth Winter, praised the newly refurbished former chapel as being at the forefront of change, saying that such initiatives were part of making a fairer society for everyone. “Developments like this are pivotal, especially at the present time with the cost-of-living crisis, and with high street banks turning their backs on our communities.” she said.
Hwb Cana was a five-year regeneration project by Coalfields Regeneration Trust and other agencies which has put the building back at the heart of the community.
Mark White, CEO of Smart Money Cymru echoed her sentiments. “We are delighted to be part of this splendid project and to be able to bring our sophisticated banking services to Hwb Cana and the people of Penywaun and the Cynon Valley.
“Our aim is to increase financial inclusivity and to give our Members access to fair finance, enabling them to save and borrow and keeping them out of the hands of unscrupulous unregulated lenders who prey on the vulnerable.”
Smart Money Cymru, with branches in Caerphilly, Blackwood, Tredegar and Brecon, has around 11,000 members who benefit from its services. Community Banks and credit unions are becoming increasingly important as traditional High Street lenders close their branches and retreat from communities.
“We take the view that local branches are vital and our customers sometimes want to discuss their affairs face to face, while also having the option to access their finances online if they prefer,” added Mr White.
Members using the new Smart Money Cymru facility at Hwb Cana will have access to the popular Smart Goods Scheme under which a catalogue of 5000 household items including white goods and televisions can be purchased using loans from the Community Bank.
“We are looking forward to welcoming new customers to Hwb Cana and offering them convenient, local financial services to enhance their lives and offering an essential service to the community,” added Mr White.