While many established lenders are closing branches in Wales, Swansea Building Society’s Carmarthen branch has announced achieving record amounts in mortgage balances.
The Carmarthen branch only opened in October 2015 and has already reached £50 million in mortgage balances, an impressive achievement which the Society has attributed to it’s personal approach to mortgage lending and strong links with the region’s business community.
The West Wales business community have welcomed the lender’s approach to championing mortgages for the self-employed, many of whom have struggled to achieve finance from traditional lenders who rely exclusively on computers to make lending decisions. Swansea Building Society make all their lending decisions on a case by case basis which includes a sit-down meeting face to face.
Swansea Building Society’s flexible approach to lending, particularly to company directors, the self-employed and for properties outside of the standard criteria of other lenders, is now widely known throughout West Wales and provides a sound platform for future growth.
Similarly, even though many lending decisions are complex, the Society have managed to build a strong team in the area – the majority of whom are Welsh speaking – which is favourably accepted within the area.
The Society has further attributed the Carmarthen branch’s rapid growth in mortgage balances to a proactive approach taken by Branch Manager Sioned Jones, who has built a strong network within the West Wales professional community of solicitors, accountants and mortgage brokers. The level of introduced mortgage business quickly increased from the outset of the branch opening, and was further boosted when Jade Francis joined the Society as Business Development Manager for Pembrokeshire in 2016.
Sioned Jones, Branch Manager at Swansea Building Society’s Carmarthen branch, said:
“Over 30 years’ experience predominantly in commercial banking has enabled me to establish a sound network and also understand the needs of business owners. The ability to take a practical view of customers’ requirements and not simply rely on a credit scoring system has proven highly effective, and this more traditional approach has been fundamental to our success.”
Jade Francis, Business Development Manager for Pembrokeshire, said:
“We operate a service model that has proven to be a great success in Pembrokeshire – visiting key introducers and their clients at their own convenience, be it at home, an office or the local coffee shop. They are able to discuss their borrowing requirements face-to-face with the manager, who is their main point of contact thereafter. Our ability to consider less straightforward scenarios in a personal way and without the restriction of computer controlled decisions has also been a significant factor in the growth of our business.”
Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, added:
“This is an incredible achievement in such a short space of time since we opened our Carmarthen branch in October 2015. Our focus on a personal, face-to-face approach with our members and really understanding the needs of the communities we serve is important to us and something which clearly works.
“Other banks and building societies are abandoning a personal service and their customers in rural areas and small towns. This provides Swansea Building Society with the opportunity to continue to gradually expand its services to benefit new and existing members.”