A Welsh credit union is the focus of worldwide attention following its performance during Lockdown.

Smart Money Cymru was called on by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to share its successful strategies in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic, which helped the Credit Union to support its members in this very difficult period.

Recent Bank of England statistics show that Smart Money Cymru bucked the trends, outperforming other credit unions in England and Wales in many key areas such as lending, membership and asset growth.

Smart Money Cymru CEO, Mark White, explained the organisation’s approach in a webinar to dozens of WOCCU members in countries across the world.

“I am delighted that we were invited to take part in this to share our experiences and insights, and to learn how others around the world have dealt with the unprecedented challenges we have all faced.”

Mr White outlined the strategies Smart Money Cymru had adopted. “During Lockdown we used the time to take stock and look at how we could do things differently.”

The approach was to make the Credit Union more customer-led, and also to improve financial technology. “Among other things we abolished the joining fee that used to be charged, and set out to remove barriers to becoming a member. We looked at ways to reach out to our clients with better communication, especially through social media channels.

“We have made major changes to our financial technology, moving from a paper-based system to more digitisation and generally decluttering. This has given more time to focus on personal service.”

Smart Money Cymru also changed the culture of the organisation, said Mr White. Rather than saying ‘This is what we do’, was asked customers ‘What would you like us to do’?

The webinar was well-received by the international audience and ended with a lively question and answer session.

WOCCU Communications Officer Greg Neumann commented that the presentation was one of the best he had heard and was very informative for the audience.

“It was a very useful exercise and I was delighted to communicate with fellow credit union officials around the world, and to be able to share in their insights,” added Mr White.

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