Swansea Building Society News

  • Following the recent Bank of England announcement to raise the Bank Base Rate, we are delighted to announce that the Society will be increasing the interest rates on all personal and corporate savings accounts by 0.25% on 1st October 2018. 

  • We are delighted to announce the opening of our fourth branch in Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan. For all enquiries regarding the new Cowbridge branch, please call 01446 506000

Cash boost for savers: Swansea Building Society passes full interest rate hike onto its savers

In what will be a welcome boost for savers, Swansea Building Society has announced that it will increase the interest rate payable on all its savings accounts by 0.25% from October 1, 2018. 

The Society made the change after conducting a thorough review of the savings interest rates offered by other banks and building societies following the decision by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee in August to increase the Bank Base Rate by 0.25% to 0.75%.  
 
The move also reflects a wider trend whereby building societies pay a more attractive interest rate on savings, compared with high street banks. 

Collectively, savers with a building society account earned £775 million more in interest than they would have with financial institutions, according to data gathered by the Building Societies Association. For the first half of 2018, by the same measure, an additional £460 million interest has been earned by building society savers.
 
Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Swansea Building Society, said: “The Society works very hard to keep our savings interest rates as high as possible in relation to the Bank Base Rate. We are fully aware of the challenges that savers in the marketplace have been facing for some 10 years now in the context of a low interest rate environment.  

“We are confident that these new savings interest rates will remain very competitive in the marketplace and we will continue to monitor the marketplace to ensure our rates remain competitive. We have also made the change as fast as we can to allow our savers to enjoy the increased effect of the rate rise.”
 
Before the Bank Base Rate fell and remained at unprecedented low levels some 10 years ago, savings interest rates were typically lower than the base rate. Today, they are above the Bank Base Rate with building societies offering the best deals. In July 2018, 73% of building society accounts paid a rate of interest above the Bank rate, compared with 54% of competitor accounts, according to research by the website Savings Champion.


Swansea Building Society’s Carmarthen branch reaches mortgage balance record

Swansea Building Society’s Carmarthen branch has achieved a record amount in mortgage balances, which the Society has attributed to its personal approach to mortgage lending and strong links with the region’s business community.

The Society’s Carmarthen branch, which opened in October 2015, has reached £50 million in mortgage balances – an impressive figure considering the branch has been in operation for less than three years. 

Swansea Building Society’s championing of mortgages to the self-employed has been welcomed by the West Wales business community. Whilst many cases are complex, the Society’s face-to-face approach to delivering services along with building a strong team – the majority of whom are Welsh speaking – 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.

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.

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.”


Changes to Bank of England Base Rate

Following the recent Bank of England announcement to raise the Bank Base Rate, we are delighted to announce that the Society will be increasing the interest rates on all personal and corporate savings accounts by 0.25% on 1st October 2018.  Alun Williams, CEO of the Society said: ‘As a mutual society, we understand how important it is that our savings members/customers receive competitive interest rates on their savings accounts held with the Society.  By passing on the full rate rise, it means all our existing savings members/customers will feel the full effect of the 0.25% interest rate increase.’

 

Please note that the Society will be writing to its mortgage members shortly detailing what changes will be seen to their mortgage interest rates.  For mortgage members who have a variable rate mortgage which is linked to the Society’s Standard Variable Rate / Society Base Rate, the changes will be effective from 1st October, 2018.  For those with Tracker Rate mortgages which track the Bank of England Base Rate, the changes will be effective from 1 September, 2018. 


Alun Williams, Swansea Business Personality of the decade

The Society is often spotlighted in local business magazines and periodicals and we are pleased to link here to an interview with Chief Executive Alun Williams in this month’s TheBAY Magazine.

TheBAY Magazine is a free, monthly, lifestyle magazine for readers in Swansea and Gower. Their editorial policy is to inform, educate and entertain the local community of readers – in addition they have an effective editorial to advertising ratio. They aim for national levels of excellence in editorial content – all commissioned and written by experts in their fields – not by journalists. A particularly strong design team ensures that each issue of The Bay is a triumph of originality and visual beauty.


Swansea Building Society links with buy-to-let mortgage specialist

Swansea Building Society has linked with TBMC to offer its buy-to-let and holiday let products through the buy-to-let specialist’s mortgage panel.

Swansea Building Society’s mortgage product range includes products aimed at those looking for a buy-to-let or holiday let mortgage for properties in Wales and the Welsh borders. The mortgages allow up to four applicants on an application, with Airbnb income acceptable. 

TBMC is a buy-to-let mortgage specialist that provides brokers with back-up and support to maximise opportunities in this niche area of the mortgage market and has operated in the buy-to-let market since 1989. 

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “We are really pleased to be linking up with TBMC and to be able to offer a range of mortgage products to TBMC’s adviser network. We are confident that Swansea Building Society will be a positive addition to the TBMC mortgage panel and that our common-sense approach to mortgage lending will be a welcomed change in a market where too often the computer says no.”

Jane Simpson, managing director of TBMC, said: ‘TBMC is delighted to be working with Swansea Building Society which offers an interesting range of mortgages for buy-to-let properties. They will be a welcome addition to our panel and may fill certain niche areas of the market including holiday lets in Wales. We have seen a growing interest in lenders who will consider Airbnb so this could also be beneficial to some landlords.

‘TBMC is a buy-to-let mortgage specialist and our expertise in this sector will enable us to present high quality applications and work successfully with Swansea Building Society to develop its buy-to-let proposition.”

Swansea Building Society was established in 1923 and is currently the 35th largest building society out of 44 in the UK. With no credit scoring and all cases manually underwritten, the Society offers a unique, personal and tailored approach to mortgage lending.


Swansea Building Society tackles beach clean

Employees from Swansea Building Society recently headed to one of Gower’s most loved beaches to complete a beach clean, in a bid to help maintain the local environment and make a difference to the community.

Organised by the Mumbles branch manager Tony Rees, the team from Swansea Building Society spent the day at Three Cliffs Bay on Friday 13 July picking up litter from the beach. With assistance from the National Trust, which supplied all the litter picking kit needed, the Society’s team were able to clear a substantial amount of litter from the beach and help maintain the bay’s natural environment. 

Tony Rees, Mumbles branch manager at Swansea Building Society, said: “Having spent most of my childhood weekends down at Three Cliffs, it was a natural choice for the beach clean. With the aid of my fellow Society members, it gave us a chance as a local building society to improve a popular beach in the area so that it can be enjoyed to its full potential this summer.”

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, added: “The beach clean forms part of our corporate social responsibility initiative and shows our dedication to giving something back to the community and local area. We are lucky to have such beautiful surroundings on our doorstep and it is important that we maintain the beauty of Gower. Being a part of the beach clean was very rewarding and it was great to have so many of our staff at the Society join in.”


Swansea Building Society joins Legal & General’s mortgage club panel

Swansea Building Society has linked with Legal & General’s mortgage club to offer its products and services through the multinational financial services firm’s mortgage panel.
Legal & General assists over 10 million people globally with financial services. Swansea Building Society’s products and services are now available through Legal & General’s mortgage club and will include the Society’s latest products, which have been launched following a review of its product range.

The new products are aimed at those who are self-employed, customers in a role requiring a professional qualification (up to 90 per cent loan-to-value), households whose income is in excess of £100k, retired home owners over 55 (term up to age 85) and those looking for a buy to let or holiday let mortgage.  

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “The Society is delighted to link up with Legal & General’s mortgage club. We are confident that Swansea Building Society will be a welcome addition to Legal & General’s mortgage panel and that our common-sense approach to mortgage lending will be a refreshing change in a market where too often the computer says no.”

Danny Belton, head of lender relationships, Legal & General mortgage club, added: “As the number of customers with complex income or requiring more niche lending solutions increases, it is important that our brokers are able to offer choice to their customers. The addition of Swansea Building Society to the Legal & General mortgage club panel provides further innovative lending solutions to our members.”

Swansea Building Society was established in 1923 and is currently the 35th largest building society out of 44 in the UK. With no credit scoring and all cases manually underwritten, the Society offers a unique, personal and tailored approach to mortgage lending. 


Swansea Building Society appoints head of IT

Swansea Building Society has hired a head of IT as the firm seeks to enhance its service offering for customers and deliver future online platforms.   

Peter Thomas from Swansea recently joined the Society at its head office in Cradock Street, Swansea. Thomas brings a wealth of experience to the Society, having previously held the role of IT director at neurostimulation products provider Magstim and infrastructure architect at the University of Exeter.   

Thomas’ expertise include defining business, technical and service-orientated IT architecture, as well as IT strategy, management, application and cloud based technology – all of which will be paramount to Swansea Building Society’s current and future customer service offering.

Peter Thomas, newly appointed head of IT at Swansea Building Society, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Swansea Building Society, supporting Alun and the board in delivering new services and products to our customers whilst expanding our coverage across South Wales. I’ve always strived to deliver customer focused IT platforms that allow companies to leverage new technologies and enhance the customer journey. 

“The Society’s fantastic team, its personal relationships with customers and ability to make human based decisions for mortgage and savings customers is highly attractive as a service. I intend to help augment this by delivering new services which strengthen our customer advocacy while growing the demographic of the Society.” 

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, added: “Peter’s appointment is a promising move for the Society as we continue to ensure the optimum security of our operations and begin to introduce an improved service to our customers. We have reinvested profits into the business over the last three years to focus on our IT infrastructure, software and cyber security and the next step will be to provide an online service for customers.

“I have no doubt that Peter’s professional experience and impressive skillset will assist us in achieving this improved offering. The Society is in a stable and strong financial position and I’m sure Peter joining us will only boost our performance.” 


Swansea Building Society links with wealth management firm

Swansea Building Society has linked with St. James’s Place to offer its products and services through the wealth management firm’s mortgage panel.

St. James’s Place is a FTSE 100 company with £89.91bn of client funds under management. Swansea Building Society’s products are now available on St James’s Place’s mortgage panel and will include the Society’s latest products, which have been launched following a review of its product range.

The new products are aimed at those who are self-employed, customers in a role requiring a professional qualification (up to 90 per cent loan-to-value), households whose income is in excess of £100k, retired home owners over 55 (term up to age 85) and those looking for a buy to let or holiday let mortgage.  

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “The Society is delighted to link up with St. James’s Place and to be able to offer its range of mortgage products to St. James’s Places’ mortgage panel. 

“We are confident that Swansea Building Society will be a welcome addition to St. James’s Place’s panel and that our common-sense approach to mortgage lending will be a refreshing change in a market that is often too rigid and impersonal. The Society does not just look at net profit when assessing a customer’s income, and it is this individual and personalised approach to mortgage lending that sets us apart.”

Swansea Building Society was established in 1923 and is currently the 35th largest building society out of 44 in the UK. With no credit scoring and all cases manually underwritten, Swansea Building Society offers a unique, personal and tailored approach to mortgage lending.  

 


Swansea Building Society continues to support male voice choir

Swansea Building Society is continuing with its support of a local male voice choir as the financial institution pledges sponsorship funds to the group.

The Gwalia Singers, based in Swansea, is a vibrant male voice choir with 60 members. The choir was first established in 1966 and has grown significantly over the years to a choir that has completed numerous tours nationally and overseas. The Gwalia Singers is a success story in terms of its longevity as a Welsh male voice choir and is a group with a strong sense of belonging.  

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “Male voice choirs are a wonderful part of Wales’ culture and it is a pleasure to be continuing our support of The Gwalia Singers with our sponsorship. We place great value on those that contribute so much to the community and are proud to be associated with such a successful local male voice choir.” 

Clive Walters, chairman of The Gwalia Singers, added: “We are very pleased to receive such excellent support from Swansea Building Society and look forward to their presence in our annual concert at All Saints Church Mumbles on the 23rd June. 

“We are a hard working male voice choir and perform predominantly at charitable events throughout South Wales. We therefore rely on fundraising and some sponsorship for our financial survival. We sincerely hope we can forge a more permanent link with Swansea Building Society for the future.”


Swansea Building Society links with Twenty7Tec

Swansea Building Society has linked with Twenty7Tec, a mortgage technology solutions company, to offer its range of products to mortgage advisors and brokers through a mortgage sourcing system. 

Swansea Building Society’s products are now available on Twenty7Tec’s sourcing system for directly authorised users, offering a digital approach to traditional mortgage sourcing. 

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “Swansea Building Society is delighted to link up with Twenty7Tec and to have our products showcased across the firm’s impressive mortgage sourcing platform. We pride ourselves on taking a common sense approach to mortgage lending and we are confident that our offering of a personalised, tailor-made approach to lending is well received.”

In 2017, Swansea Building Society achieved gross mortgage lending of £46.0 million and mortgage balances of £201.3 million. 

 


Swansea Building Society continues to pledge thousands to Macmillan

Swansea Building Society has pledged to support Macmillan Cancer Support for another two years, extending the Society’s dedication to the charity with a £24,000 commitment. 
Macmillan is Swansea Building Society’s primary charity, which the financial institution has supported over recent years through sponsorship of the charity’s Gower Macmarathon event. 
Swansea Building Society was the headline sponsor of the scenic walking event for the first time in 2015. This latest sponsorship agreement extends the Society’s support for Macmillan’s Gower Macmarathon to five consecutive years, guaranteeing a minimum pledge of £12,000 per annum for 2018 and 2019. 

The 21at instalment of the Gower Macmarathon takes place on Saturday 8 September 2018, where staff at Swansea Building Society will join over 1000 walkers to complete the 22 miles from Rhossili to Mumbles Cricket Club to raise money for specialist cancer services.

Walkers also have the option to complete a 14 mile or 2.5 mile walk around the picturesque Gower peninsula. The 14 mile option takes walkers from Port Eynon to Mumbles Cricket Club, and the 2.5 mile journey takes walkers from Caswell Bay to Mumbles. 

In addition to its sponsorship of the Gower Macmarathon, Swansea Building Society also recently ran a fundraising drive for Macmillan, which saw the firm donate £1 to Macmillan for each vote cast by members at the Society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). This resulted in £1,450 being raised for Macmillan, with a cheque for the funds raised being presented to Macmillan’s West Wales fundraising manager, Sue Reece, at the Society’s AGM last month.  

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “We are very proud to have a long-standing relationship with Macmillan Cancer Support, which is a vital organisation for those suffering with cancer and their loved ones. This sponsorship deal will extend our support for the Gower Macmarathon to five years, showing our commitment and dedication to raising much needed funds for this cause through a wonderful local event. 

“A team of walkers from Swansea Building Society will again be participating in the Gower Macmarathon this year and we hope that along with those in the community, we can raise even more funds this year as we have done previously.”

Sue Reece, West Wales fundraising manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, added: “We are delighted that Swansea Building Society is continuing to be our sponsors for the Gower Macmarathon. This year marks the 21st marathon, and in the three previous years that Swansea Building Society have sponsored, the event has raised half a million pounds. As our sponsors, they have helped us generate this income. 

“Last year we raised a record of £225,000, with over 1,100 walkers participating. We are looking forward to this year’s event and achieving an equally successful year thanks to the support and hard work of those raising money for people affected by cancer in the local community.” 


Swansea Building Society unveils new chairman at AGM

Swansea Building Society has appointed a new chairman as the financial institution celebrates record breaking figures. Ieuan Griffiths, currently a non-executive director at the Society, was announced as the new chairman at the Society’s annual general meeting (AGM) held at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, on Thursday 26 April.

Griffiths will replace Gwyn Williams, who stands down after two years as chairman of Swansea Building Society, and who has been a member of the Society’s board since May 2005. 

Williams was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Society in December 2014 before becoming chairman in April 2016. He is a Chartered Accountant and owner/director of Clay Shaw Thomas. He is also a Chartered Financial Planner and owner/director of CST Wealth Management. His 34 year career to date has been in private practice, specialising in wealth management for owner managed businesses and high net worth individuals.  

Now stepping into the role of Chairman, Griffiths joined the Society’s board in May 2015. He is a Chartered Accountant and member of CIPFA. He has a doctorate in change management and has worked within the consultancy arms of three of the major accountancy firms for nearly 20 years, providing advice on finance, IT and risk management. He was director of strategy and finance at the DVLA for 12 years and previously deputy director of finance and performance for the NHS in England and Wales. Griffiths will become the Society’s ninth Chairman since its incorporation in 1923.  

Ieuan Griffiths, newly appointed Chairman of Swansea Building Society, said:

“I am excited and delighted with the opportunity to help guide Swansea Building Society through its next stage of development as it approaches its centenary year. The Society has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, growing steadily, carefully and safely to the benefit of its members under the leadership of Alun Williams and Gwyn Williams. The staff are very much focused on our members as customers, providing the personal service that underpins our growth so that we can serve the people of Swansea, West Wales and the Vale."

Gwyn Williams, former Chairman of Swansea Building Society, said:    

“It has been an honour to serve as Chairman of Swansea Building Society over these past two years and it has been extremely rewarding to be a part of the Society’s success. The Society is in a very strong financial position with it achieving the highest level of total assets ever recorded in 2017 and I’m proud to have contributed to this milestone. I am confident such success will continue as we establish ourselves in South East Wales with our newest Cowbridge branch and maintain a superior level of service throughout our branches.”

Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, added:

“We are very proud to have had Gwyn serve as our Chairman and are extremely pleased to now welcome Ieuan to this role. We are privileged to have professionals of such high calibre serve Swansea Building Society, which has ensured we remain stable, profitable and continue to achieve strong financial performances. Having opened our Carmarthen branch in October 2015 and most recently our Cowbridge branch in December 2017, we are continuing to grow in such a way that allows us to be at the heart of communities in Wales. This allows us to serve our members with the personal, face-to-face approach that is central to our business model.”

Swansea Building Society’s AGM also outlined its 2017 results, which revealed it made a pre-tax profit of £2.86 million in 2017, an increase of 11.7 percent compared with the same period the year before when it posted a profit of £2.56 million.

The Society’s total assets were £275.4 million in 2017, − the highest level of total assets ever recorded by the Society − showing an increase of £6.8 million or 2.5 percent on its total assets of £268.6 million a year earlier.  

Its gross mortgage lending increased to £46 million in 2017 from £44 million in 2016 and mortgage balances increased to £201.3 million, an increase of 8.8 percent from £185 million in 2016, which are both two new records for the Society.


Swansea Building Society reaches new highs in 2017 results

Swansea Building Society celebrated reaching several landmarks in 2017. It made its highest ever pre-tax profit, highest level of total assets and reached a new high in its mortgage balances in 2017 – an achievement it attributed to its face-to-face business model and expanding network of branches.

The Society made a pre-tax profit of £2.86 million in 2017, an increase of 11.7 percent compared with the same period the year before when it posted a profit of £2.56 million. The performance was based on total net income of £6.4 million, a 12.9 percent increase on 2016. Its profit after tax was £2.3 million, also an increase of 11.7 percent.

The Building Society’s total assets were £275.4 million in 2017, − the highest level of total assets ever recorded by the Society − showing an increase of £6.8 million or 2.5 percent on its total assets of £268.6 million a year earlier.

Its gross mortgage lending increased to £46 million in 2017 from £44 million in 2016 and mortgage balances increased to £201.3 million, an increase of 8.8 percent from £185 million in 2016, which are both two new records for the Society. 

Swansea Building Society has expanded its network in recent years. It now has branches in Swansea, Mumbles and Carmarthen, the latter opening in late 2015. Late last year it also launched a fourth branch in Cowbridge.

Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, said he felt the strong performance was testament to its business model and the fact that 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. 

Williams said: “2017 produced a number of record breaking figures for the Society and we head into 2018 with confidence. The success is testament to our business model, which is based on providing an individual service to our customers and understanding the needs of the communities we serve.  

“The Society has opened its fourth branch, complementing our Head Office branch in Swansea which was established in 1923, our Mumbles branch which opened in 2010 and our Carmarthen branch which opened in 2015. The new branch in Cowbridge will become the regional hub for the Society in South East Wales and we look forward to it making a very positive contribution to the Society in 2018.

“In 2017 we achieved gross mortgage lending of £46.0 million, which set a new record for the Society. In the second half of 2017 we appointed two further mortgage managers, which should improve our gross mortgage lending in 2018. 

“We continue to provide our borrowers with a flexible face-to-face service at a time when most banks and building societies do not have full time branch-based qualified mortgage advisors who know and understand the local community that they are serving. We intend to continue to build on this area of our business model in 2018.”

Swansea Building Society’s balance sheet is 100 percent funded by retail and business savings and retained profits, meaning it has no reliance on the wholesale money markets to fund either asset growth or mortgage lending.   

The Building Society will hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium on Thursday 26 April 2018. 

 


Swansea Building Society sponsors South Wales Business Awards

Swansea Building Society is pleased to announce that it is sponsoring the 2018 South Wales Business Awards.

Since their launch in 2008, the South Wales Business Awards have become one of the key annual business events in the South Wales region. The awards celebrate highly successful businesses and businesspeople in the area, providing well deserved recognition to businesses from a variety of sectors.

The 2018 awards event will take place on Wednesday 6th June at the Bear Hotel, Cowbridge.

Swansea Building Society opened its newest branch in Cowbridge during December 2017, making it an ideal business to support the awards this year. 

Richard Miles, head of savings/area manager (East Wales) at Swansea Building Society, said:

“We are thrilled to be one of the headline sponsors for the 2018 South Wales Business Awards. With the Society’s newest branch being based in Cowbridge, we feel sponsoring these awards is a great way to support the local community while highlighting our presence in the area. 

“We are also pleased to be a part of the judging of the awards, and finding out more about some of the outstanding companies and businesspeople in the area who are making a real difference to the business community and beyond.”

Wesley Skene, founder of the South Wales Business Awards, added:

“The South Wales Business Awards is delighted to announce Swansea Building Society as one of the sponsors for the 2018 awards. Swansea Building Society is one of the leading and most progressive building societies within Wales and plays a huge role in our communities. To have Swansea Building Society as a sponsor for 2018 is something that we at the awards are very proud of!” 

For more information on the South Wales Business Awards, please click here.


Swansea Building Society launches new savings account to help get young adults on the property ladder

Swansea Building Society has recently launched a new savings account for new and existing members in Wales following demand from its young adult customers for a product that will help them save for a significant life purchase, such as a first home.

Launched on 1st February 2018, the First Adult Saver account has been created by the Society specifically for customers aged from 18 to and including 30 year olds, to help them save for a major purchase or occasion, such as a deposit for a first home or a new car. 

According to the Halifax First Time Buyer Review 2017, the average age of a first time buyer in the UK is 30, which is up from 29 in 2011. In Carlisle, Cumbria and Torfaen, South Wales, the youngest first time buyers are aged 27. Meanwhile, the oldest average first time buyer is aged 34 in areas including Slough, Berkshire and the London boroughs of Barnet and Ealing. Accordingly, Swansea Building Society believes that limiting the age to 30 on its new First Adult Saver account will significantly help those saving for their first home.

The review also revealed that the average house price in Wales in 2016 was £133,730. The average mortgage was £116,000, with the average deposit being £17,550.  Taking into account such figures, the First Adult Saver account limits the maximum balance across all accounts held to £30,000, which will allow account holders sufficient balances to save for a major purchase, such as a new home. 

The First Adult Saver account has been designed to encourage positive saving habits among young people while nurturing financial responsibility and awareness, and to aid financial literacy in a practical hands-on way by providing a savings account with a competitive rate (1.25%), which restricts access to monies deposited. Withdrawals from the account are limited to three per year and are subject to seven days’ notice, with no access allowed prior to this. 

The account supports the key Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) outcome of catering to the needs of the target market (younger people), and encourages family members and loved ones to help the account holder by accepting deposits from third parties.

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said:

“We are extremely pleased to have launched our new First Adult Saver account, which has been specially designed to meet the needs of 18 to 30 year olds. The new product comes following feedback from the front line branch staff regarding maturing Swansea Building Society children’s accounts, as well as research showing the clear need for young adults to have assistance with saving for major life purchases or events, like a first home. 

“This latest product launch demonstrates Swansea Building Society’s core business values of listening to our customers’ needs and providing a unique service to fulfil such requirements. Management also believe a unique selling point of this account is the ability to save for a number of reasons, which nurtures financial responsibility.” 


Swansea Building Society opens in Cowbridge

Swansea Building Society opened its newest branch office yesterday (12 December) as the firm extends its reach to the South East region of Wales. 

The unveiling of the new branch, based in Cowbridge, marks the opening of Swansea Building Society’s fourth branch. The new branch is located at the former Yorkshire Building Society site on High Street in Cowbridge. 

Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, Alun Cairns, joined Swansea Building Society’s head of savings/area manager (East Wales), Richard Miles and the chief executive of Swansea Building Society, Alun Williams, on Saturday (9 December) to visit the branch before it opened its doors to the public for the first time. 

The branch is viewed as a welcomed addition to the local area and community of Cowbridge, especially following the news earlier this month that NatWest is closing 259 of its branches across the UK, including its Cowbridge branch and 19 other branches in Wales.    

The Society made the announcement in July this year that it would be expanding its branch network into South East Wales following the purchase of new premises in Cowbridge. The Cowbridge branch will be the regional hub for the Society for its business in East Wales and complement the three existing Swansea Building Society branches in Swansea, Mumbles and Carmarthenshire.  

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said: 

“It was wonderful to be joined by Alun Cairns MP to mark this occasion as we welcome those that live locally to the newest addition of the Swansea Building Society branch network. We are going against the grain of large high street banks that are continuing to close branches across the country. We believe many people still value a personal approach to their finances and understand that being able to visit a local branch is still very important to those in the community. 

“We view Cowbridge as the ideal location for our latest branch, which will provide a pivotal regional base as we expand our services into East Wales. The branch will help the Society to serve the people of Cowbridge and the surrounding area with competitive savings products and a personal, tailored and flexible mortgage service. We look forward to seeing the branch really take off as we head into the New Year and we are confident it will strengthen the Society’s successes in the future.”

Alun Cairns, Conservative MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, added:
“Swansea Building Society is a great addition to Cowbridge town centre. This move presents exciting employment opportunities to the local area and I look forward to seeing how Swansea Building Society will support Vale businesses and prospective homeowners.

“It was a pleasure to visit the new Cowbridge branch on Saturday. Best of luck to Alun, Richard and the team ahead of the official opening!”


Swansea Building Society welcomes new non-executive director

Swansea Building Society has appointed a new non-executive director as the firm begins to expand into South East Wales.

John Union, an experienced corporate banking professional with a strong reputation in Wales, has recently been welcomed into the Society. 

Mr Union boasts a long and varied career with Barclays Bank, holding several senior positions during his time with the company, including head of Swansea, Mid and West Wales, and head of Wales region (corporate banking). He is also an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers. 

Mr Union continues to have other business interests alongside his new appointment, including as vice chair of Cadwyn Housing Association and as an independent member (finance) at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. 

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said:

“I am extremely pleased to have John on board, especially with the imminent opening of our new Cowbridge branch in December as we look to provide an enhanced service to those in South East Wales. His knowledge and contacts in South Wales will be of much value to the Society during this expansion period and we are thrilled to have his experienced input.”

John Union, newly appointed non-executive director at Swansea Building Society, added:

“I am delighted to join Swansea Building Society as a non‐executive director and I look forward to working with Alun and his team together with the other non‐executive directors. It is a particularly exciting time for Swansea Building Society with their new branch opening in Cowbridge, following the opening of their branch in Carmarthen last year.”


Swansea Building Society shows support for High 5 Awards

Swansea Building Society has shown its support for a local event that celebrates inspirational children and young people in the region.

Led by Phil Roberts, Chief Executive of Swansea Council, with the Lord Mayor, Councillor Philip Downing and his wife, Lilian Downing in attendance, the Swansea High 5 Awards took place on 12 October at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium. Swansea Building Society’s Jane Parker – Branch Manager of the Society’s Swansea branch – was presenting an award at the event.

Swansea City football star Leon Britton, Ambassador of the High 5 Awards, was also in attendance to present the awards to the well-deserved winners. 

The Swansea High 5 Awards recognise inspirational young people and their remarkable achievements that have made a real difference within their community. 

This year’s winners included young people who are making tremendous efforts to support their families, overcoming obstacles to raise money for charity and making their school a better place to be.

Jane Parker, Swansea Branch Manager at Swansea Building Society, said:

“We are extremely pleased to have supported this wonderful event since the project was established six years ago. As a local business, we feel it is important to support and encourage the youth of Swansea to reach their full potential. 

“The High 5 Awards provide a platform for the youngsters to demonstrate to the local community the talent of our future generation. We at Swansea Building Society are delighted to offer some reward for their hard work and congratulate the winners and all those nominated."

The money from the event’s sponsors is used for prizes that are individualised to ensure they are unique to each winner, yet provide a sustainable benefit. Where possible, prizes are linked with advantages to employability, such as driving lessons and apprenticeships, or experiences that money can’t buy, such as a VIP day with the Swans, or meeting the cast of the Swansea pantomime.  


Swansea Building Society makes new appointment

Swansea Building Society has appointed a new branch manager at its Mumbles branch as the business extends its senior management team.

Tony Rees from Killay will be taking over from Alan Ellerton, who will be moving into the role of area manager, covering the Society’s Swansea, Mumbles and Carmarthen branches. 

Having been in the mortgage and investment industry for 19 years, Mr Rees has vast experience in the financial services industry and will add to the Society’s expertise in the sector. 

In addition to extending its management team, Swansea Building Society announced during August this year the purchase of premises in Cowbridge, broadening its reach to the South East Wales region. The Cowbridge branch will be the fourth branch of Swansea Building Society and is due to open at the end of this year. 

Tony Rees, newly appointed Mumbles branch manager at Swansea Building Society, said: 

“I am delighted to be joining Swansea Building Society at this exciting time, as the company continues its growth and expansion throughout Wales.

“All customers, be they savers or borrowers, have the opportunity to deal with the branch manager of each individual branch, and that is a unique feature of Swansea Building Society - a fact that particularly attracted me when applying for the role.
 
“I am looking forward to continuing the success of the Mumbles branch and with living locally, renewing and establishing new contacts.”
 
Alan Ellerton, now area manager at Swansea Building Society, added:

“We are extremely pleased to have Tony join us, as he brings many years' experience from a variety of financial institutions in the Building Society sector.

“To be able to appoint a senior manager, who lives locally, will really benefit our mortgage customers, as we understand the area in which they aspire to live - again a unique feature of the Society and all our branches. 

“The Society's ethos of a direct relationship with customers and their advisers has served us well in comparison with our peers and will continue to be a cornerstone of the way we approach our customers’ needs.”

Photo (L-R): Tony Rees, Mumbles branch manager at Swansea Building Society; and Alan Ellerton, area manager at Swansea Building Society. 


Swansea Building Society supports Gower Macmarathon for the third year running

The 20th instalment of the Gower Macmarathon takes place this Saturday (9 September), and headline sponsors Swansea Building Society are once again doing their bit to raise as much money as possible for Macmillan Cancer Support. 

Swansea Building Society was the headline sponsor of the event for the first time in 2015. The Society is now celebrating its third anniversary of its partnership with the Macmillian event by once again entering a team of walkers made up of staff at the company. 

Leading the society’s walkers this Saturday will be chief executive of the Society Alun Williams. The team will complete the 22 miles from Rhossili to Mumbles Cricket Club to raise money for specialist cancer services.

Walkers taking part in this year’s Macmarathon have the option to complete a 22 mile, 14 mile or 2.5 mile walk around the stunning Gower peninsula. The 14 mile option takes walkers from Port Eynon to Mumbles Cricket Club, and the 2.5 mile journey takes walkers from Caswell Bay to Mumbles. 

In 2015, 19,088 people in Wales were diagnosed with cancer and it’s now estimated that half of all people will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives.

Last year, the Gower Macmarathon raised £176,965. This is enough to fund a Macmillan nurse for over three years, showing how important this fundraising event is for those affected by cancer. 

Chief executive of Swansea Building Society, Alun Williams, said: “We are really pleased to be sponsoring and taking part in this very popular fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support for the third year running.

“We are proud to be giving something back into the local community as the only building society or bank with its headquarters in West Wales.

“This is my third year taking part in the Macmarathon and I’m delighted that Swansea Building Society is the headline sponsor with a team taking part once again. We hope that we can raise even more funds this year as we have done previously for this important cause.”

Swansea and Neath Port Talbot fundraising manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, Mike Houghton, added: “It is fantastic that Swansea Building Society, an amazing local company, is supporting the Gower Macmarathon. Their help, input and support has been invaluable over the past three years and has allowed us to grow the Macmarathon into the biggest volunteer led event for Macmillan. We are so grateful to them for their support and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”


Personal approach to mortgage lending reaps rewards for Carmarthen branch

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Swansea Building Society has hailed the success of the Society’s Carmarthen branch as it reaches £31 million in mortgage assets, which has been attributed to a personal, face-to-face approach to mortgage lending.

The Carmarthen branch has reported an increase in mortgage lending for holiday homes and small holdings in the region, resulting in a rise in the branch’s total mortgage assets to £31 million as of 30 June 2017. 

Alun Williams, CEO of Swansea Building Society, said the Society is cultivating a niche in the mortgage market, and tailors its mortgage lending to the needs of the local community. 

According to Mr Williams, many of the main financial institutions see holiday home mortgage lending as being ‘outside of the box’ and do not provide a straightforward mortgage option for these properties. However, Swansea Building Society prides itself on taking a more personal approach, thus helping customers to obtain mortgages that suit their individual needs. 

Mr Williams commented:
 
“This positive result from Sioned Jones and her team in Carmarthen is proof that customers still desire and value face-to-face contact and a personal service for many of their large and more complex financial transactions. The way in which we assess mortgages and manage customers is appreciated in West Wales, and the fact that the majority of the staff in our Carmarthen branch are fluent Welsh speakers is also very important to this community. It’s about going back to good old fashioned customer service. 

“Our new Pembrokeshire-based business development manager, Jade Francis, has also assisted in this growth. Being from Pembrokeshire, Jade has helped extend our presence in West Wales and provides an outstanding personal service to the community. 

“The support from the professional community in West Wales has also made an important contribution to this growth in mortgage assets.” 

Swansea Building Society’s Carmarthen branch opened on 31 October 2015. The branch made an operating profit in its first full year during 2016, performing much better than anticipated, with savers depositing more than £27 million of new savings. Nearly £22 million of this money has been lent to borrowers in West Wales in the form of mortgages.

Swansea Building Society recently announced the purchase of premises in Cowbridge, extending its reach to the South East Wales region. The Cowbridge branch will be the fourth branch of Swansea Building Society, with its other branches based in Swansea, Mumbles and Carmarthen.


Swansea Building Society shows support for cancer foundation

Swansea Building Society has shown its support for a local cancer foundation through making a significant donation to the charity. 

The Society has made the donation to the Golau Cancer Foundation through matching funds raised by a cancer survivor. Ralph Morgans from Carmarthen, a financial adviser and customer of Swansea Building Society, had treatment for cancer of the tongue in 2013. 

Mr Morgans held a ‘staying alive’ event for his 70th birthday to fundraise for the Golau Cancer Foundation. The event raised over £3000, which was complemented by Swansea Building Society, enabling a donation of over £6000 to be made to the Golau Cancer Foundation.

Based in Swansea’s Singleton Hospital, the Golau Cancer Foundation is the official charity of the South West Wales Cancer Centre and is the second largest non-surgical cancer centre in Wales. It supports cancer patients and their families from across South West Wales and provides over 45,000 treatments to those with cancer every year.  

Alun Williams, chief executive officer of Swansea Building Society, said:

“The Golau Cancer Foundation is an extremely important charity in the region and we are pleased to be able to make this donation to support the excellent work that the oncology unit does for cancer patients and their families. Ralph’s dedication to raising these funds is truly admirable, and as a customer of ours and a cancer survivor, we are proud to be able to provide this additional support for his efforts.” 

Dr Martin Rolles, consultant oncologist, added:  

“We are very grateful for this generous donation from Mr Morgans and his friends, and for the matched donation from Swansea Building Society. The support from our community in South West Wales is vital for Golau and for our cancer service.

“Back in 2013 Mr Morgans had to have a very tough course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He has shown that it is possible to make a complete recovery and get back to a full and active life after cancer.

“Cancer treatments are changing rapidly, and one of the challenges is to stay at the forefront of new developments, so that we can continue to develop a world-class service for South West Wales. Golau is central to this effort, raising money for training, research and development, specialist equipment, patient care and rehabilitation.”


Building Society Cowbridge
Swansea Building Society expands business to South East Wales

Swansea Building Society is expanding its branch network into South East Wales following the recent purchase of new premises in Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

The Society will be opening its fourth branch having acquired the now closed Yorkshire Building Society branch office in Cowbridge. This new branch will complement the three existing Swansea Building Society branches in Swansea, Mumbles and Carmarthenshire. 

The Cowbridge branch will become the regional hub for the Society for its business in East Wales. The new branch is planned to open to the public during the fourth quarter of 2017. 

Richard Miles, newly appointed Head of Savings/Area Manager (East Wales) at Swansea Building Society, will be responsible for establishing the Cowbridge branch in the local community. 

The Society will be recruiting for seven new members of staff to form a strong team at the Cowbridge branch, helping to bring jobs to the area. This will raise the total number of employees at Swansea Building Society to 51 – an impressive staff-base for a private company with its headquarters based in Swansea. 

Various positions including branch manager and cashiering roles will be recruited for in coming months to meet the needs of existing and new members of Swansea Building Society in Cowbridge and the surrounding area.  

Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Swansea Building Society, commented:

“Despite what many other institutions across the country believe, Swansea Building Society continues to prove that there is a demand for face-to-face cashiering and mortgage services on the high street. We are absolutely delighted to be meeting this demand through opening our fourth branch in Cowbridge.  

“I am confident the new Cowbridge branch will replicate the success of our three other branch offices and will be a welcome addition to the town of Cowbridge. The Society delivered a very strong financial performance in 2016 and the opening of this latest branch and relocation of our Swansea branch will strengthen the Society going forward.” 

Richard added:

“I am delighted to have joined Alun and the team at this exciting time and look forward to being part of the enhanced team serving East Wales offering competitive savings products and a personal, tailored and flexible mortgage service. 


“Cowbridge is the ideal location to open a new branch and regional hub as we expand into East Wales and I am looking forward to welcoming and meeting new and existing members. Having been a NatWest branch manager in Cowbridge twenty years ago, I hope to see some familiar faces coming into the branch.”  


Swansea Building Society extends its reach with new appointment

Swansea Building Society has appointed a new member of staff as the Society enhances its reach to the South East region of Wales.

Richard Miles from Cardiff has joined Swansea Building Society as Head of Savings/Area Manager (East Wales) - a newly created position. Richard’s role will be split between managing the savings side of Swansea Building Society, ensuring the products offered continue to meet the needs of the Society and its members, and promoting the Society throughout East Wales.     

Having worked in financial services for over 20 years, Richard brings extensive industry experience to Swansea Building Society. Prior to his current appointment, he worked at Monmouthshire Building Society for 12 years as General Manager of retail, human resources (HR) and training. Previous to this, Richard worked at NatWest for over a decade in various roles throughout South Wales and the Midlands.   

Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Swansea Building Society, commented on Richard’s appointment:

“Richard is a highly respected and experienced financial services manager who will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Society. I am delighted Richard has agreed to join us and look forward to working with him going forward as the Society continues to expand in South and West Wales.”

Richard added:

“I am really pleased to have joined Alun and the team at Swansea Building Society at this exciting time. I look forward to being part of the Swansea Building Society family and ensuring we continue to offer competitive savings products and a personal, tailored and flexible mortgage service.

“Swansea Building Society is a unique institution with a proud history and tradition of fully understanding the needs of both its savings and mortgage members. To be a part of this is a great honour.”


Building Society continues to show support for Cricket Club

Swansea Building Society has shown its continued support for Swansea Cricket Club through extending its sponsorship of the club.

2017 marks the third consecutive year that Swansea Building Society has sponsored Swansea Cricket Club. Through its sponsorship, the club has been able to invest in its junior cricket programme, helping to secure a thriving future for the club.  

The Society’s branding will continue to be displayed on team shirts and advertising space for the Society has been provided around St Helen’s ground – home of Swansea Cricket Club – through the organisation’s sponsorship. 

Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Swansea Building Society, said: 

“We are delighted to show our support for a third year to Swansea Cricket Club. Swansea Cricket Club has a strong and long history in the community and this is something we feel Swansea Building Society shares with the club. We are proud to be associated with the club and to be continuing this positive partnership.”  

Mike Hayden, chairman of Swansea Cricket Club, added:

“We are extremely grateful to Swansea Building Society for their support during the last three years. Their kind support has enabled us to invest in our junior cricket programme, enabling us to increase the number of coaches to support our children and their development. 


“As a result of this programme we now have a flourishing junior section with cricket available to boys and girls from the age of five to 15. Every Friday night on our ground we regularly have approximately 40-50 children participating in cricket which is fantastic.


“Without the support of Swansea Building Society we would not have had the resources to develop the club in this way. We are extremely grateful and proud to be associated with Swansea Building Society.” 


Swansea Building Society reveals Swansea office expansion

Swansea Building Society has revealed its plan to launch a new branch on Portland Street in Swansea City Centre later this year having secured planning permission from Swansea Council. 

Its existing Swansea branch on Cradock Street will remain the company’s headquarters and expand further as it takes on more back office staff to support its growing network of branches. The new Portland Street retail branch will provide a more central location for its customers. 

The announcement was made by Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Swansea Building Society, at the Society’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium yesterday (Thursday 20 April).

The new Swansea branch will complement the Society’s other branches in Mumbles and Carmarthen. Williams said that he feels opening a branch in the heart of the city centre will provide a more accessible location for customers and help generate further growth for the Society. 

The new branch office will be located at 3-4 Portland Street in a space previously occupied by a jewellery store. It is also in the vicinity of several other national banking brands, all adding to the visibility of Swansea Building Society and its viability as an alternative option for financial services.  

The Society’s balance sheet is 100 percent funded by retail and business savings and retained profits, meaning it has no reliance on the wholesale money markets to fund either asset growth or mortgage lending.  

“We need more space in our head office to accommodate growth. The launch of the Portland Street branch will allow us to both free up space in Cradock Street and place our customer-facing branch in the heartland of Swansea, boosting our profile and visibility at the same time,” Williams said.

Williams anticipates that the new branch will be officially opened to the public in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The AGM also formally announced Swansea Building Society’s 2016 results. The Society enjoyed a strong increase in its total assets and a modest increase in its profits in 2016, mainly driven by the success of its newest branch in Carmarthen, which generated increased retail savings and mortgage balances during the year.   

The Building Society’s annual income was £5.7 million in 2016, an increase of £300,000 or 6 percent on its income of £5.4 million a year earlier. 

The Society also increased its net profit to just over £2 million, an increase of £12,000 in comparison to 2015, despite the appointment of additional staff at its Carmarthen branch and head office, and continued investment in its IT systems. 

The Building Society’s total loan book increased to £185 million in 2016, an increase of £15.2 million or 8.9 percent on the £170 million outstanding in 2015. This helped generate an operating profit before impairment losses and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provisions of £2.7 million, which, in turn, led to increased capital, which now stands at £17.8 million. 


Head of Swansea Building Society attributes Carmarthen growth to personal approach

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Swansea Building Society has hailed the success of the Society’s newest branch in Carmarthen as proof that customers still desire and value face-to-face contact and a personal service for many of their financial transactions.

The branch made an operating profit in its first full year during 2016, performing much better than anticipated, with savers depositing more than £27 million of new savings with the branch. Nearly £22 million of this money has been lent to borrowers in the West Wales locality in the form of mortgages.

The rapid growth of the new branch was one of the main drivers of the Society enjoying a strong increase in its total assets and a modest increase in its profits in 2016.  As a result of the growth in West Wales the Branch employs eight staff including two Managers.

Alun Williams, CEO of Swansea Building Society, said the Society prides itself on providing savers and borrowers with a flexible face-to-face service. This enables the Society to really get to know its customers, understand their needs better and take a more personal view of their individual circumstances. 

Such an approach has gone down particularly well in West Wales, where many banks and building societies do not have full time branch-based qualified mortgage advisors. Mr Williams also noted that many banks and building societies have been closing smaller branches in South West Wales in recent years, preferring to direct customers online or to call centres.

Williams commented: 

“Swansea Building Society has maintained a traditional approach to financial services, where customers receive a personal and friendly service with a branch representative that takes the time to really understand their needs. Getting to know our customers rather than directing them to impersonal automated services has proved successful for the Society, particularly for our customers in the Carmarthenshire region, which just shows a service with a personal touch is of great importance. 

“We are delighted with the contribution made by our newest office in Carmarthen, which has been a significant factor in another strong set of annual results for the Society. Despite the substantial investments we made in staff, infrastructure and IT systems last year, we have delivered an extremely pleasing set of results. 

“Although Carmarthen only opened on 31 October 2015, in its first year of trading to 31 December 2016 it recorded a profit - an exceptional performance from Sioned Jones, Branch Manager and her team. The new branch has had a significant impact in the wider West Wales region, heightening the profile and products provided by the Society.” 

Swansea Building Society’s annual income was £5.7 million in 2016, an increase of £300,000 or 6 percent on its income of £5.4 million a year earlier. It was boosted by increased retail savings balances across all of its branches – but Carmarthen in particular. This helped its total assets increase by 16.2 percent to reach a new record level of £268.6 million.

The Society also increased its net profit to just over £2 million, an increase of £12,000 in comparison to 2015, despite the appointment of additional staff at its Carmarthen branch and head office, and continued investment in its IT systems. 

Swansea Building Society’s balance sheet is 100 percent funded by retail and business savings and retained profits, meaning it has no reliance on the wholesale money markets to fund either asset growth or mortgage lending. 


Solid year for Swansea Building Society as new office makes bright start

Swansea Building Society enjoyed a strong increase in its total assets and a modest increase in its profits in 2016, mainly driven by the success of its newest branch in Carmarthen, which generated increased retail savings and mortgage balances during the year.   

The Building Society’s annual income was £5.7 million in 2016, an increase of £300,000 or 6 percent on its income of £5.4 million a year earlier. It was boosted by increased retail savings balances across all of its branches – but Carmarthen in particular, which opened in October 2015. This helped its total assets increase by 16.2 percent to reach a new record level of £268.6 million.

The Society also increased its net profit to just over £2 million, an increase of £12,000 in comparison to 2015, despite the appointment of additional staff at its Carmarthen branch and head office, and continued investment in its IT systems. 

The Building Society’s total loan book increased to £185 million in 2016, an increase of £15.2 million or 8.9 percent on the £170 million outstanding in 2015. This helped generate an operating profit before impairment losses and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) provisions of £2.7 million, which, in turn, led to increased capital, which now stands at £17.8 million. 

Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Swansea Building Society, said he was pleased with the results and the extent to which its investment in setting up a new branch has delivered results. But he also warned that some aspects of government policy that applies to building societies continues to make life difficult for niche players that do not use the wholesale money markets for funding. 

Alun Williams said:

“We are delighted with another strong set of results, particularly the contribution made by our newest office in Carmarthen. Despite the significant investments we have made in staff, infrastructure and IT systems last year, we have delivered an extremely pleasing set of results. 

“That said, the economic landscape remains uncertain and we still face some challenges. Contributions to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) continue to weigh heavily on the Society and the costs are proportionately higher than that levied on the banks due to our reliance on retail depositors rather than wholesale funding. 

“Following the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, the Bank of England base rate reduced to 0.25 percent with effect from 4 August 2016, having been at 0.50 percent since 5 March 2009. Most economic forecasters expect UK Economic growth to slow in 2017 and if that is the case then the bank base rate is likely to remain at 0.25 percent well into 2017, and possibly beyond.” 

Williams explained that the Society has also benefitted from stimulus in the form of the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS), which has served to depress both the retail and wholesale borrowing costs of the banking and building society sectors. But he added that while the resultant low interest rate environment benefits borrowers, savers lose out and Swansea Building Society must carefully manage inflows of funds in such an environment.

“In addition to the base rate reduction, the bank announced a package of measures including a new Term Funding Scheme (TFS) of up to £10 billion of UK Corporate Bonds and an expansion of the asset purchase scheme for UK Government bonds of up to £435 billion. Unfortunately, whilst the above will reduce the borrowing costs for households and businesses, it has led to a further reduction in savings interest rates across the UK. We remain acutely aware of the negative impact that these very low interest rates are continuing to have on our savings members.  

“We kept our savings interest rates as high as we could for as long as we could during 2016. It is a measure of how competitive our current range of savings accounts are that our savings balances increased by £35.7million (16.6%) to £250.3million of savings balances under management during the year.” 

The Society’s balance sheet is 100 percent funded by retail and business savings and retained profits, meaning it has no reliance on the wholesale money markets to fund either asset growth or mortgage lending.  


Swansea Building Society helps homeless people in the city

Following another successful AberDewi Festival – a Swansea event that celebrates the patron saint of Wales while raising money for the homeless - Swansea Building Society has been praised for raising a substantial sum through its sponsorship of one of the event’s competitions.

Swansea Building Society sponsored the Apprentice AberDewi Business Competition, which raised over £1200 for two charities for the homeless - The Mother Teresa Nuns and Zac’s Place. 

Along with Swansea Building Society, the young people from Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, Ysgol Gyfun Bryntawe, and Bishop Vaughan Comprehensive School who participated in the competition were inspired by the good will of both charities for their efforts to help people living on the streets of Swansea. 

Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer of Swansea Building Society, commented:

“We are very proud to be involved with the AberDewi Festival. It is a wonderful event for the city that celebrates Welsh culture yet has a very important cause at its centre. The work The Mother Teresa Nuns and Zac’s Place charities do for the homeless in Swansea is truly admirable and we are pleased to have been able to support these crucial charities through sponsoring the Apprentice-style AberDewi Business Competition. 

“As a business that is built from the support of the community, we couldn’t be more pleased to show our support for the AberDewi Festival.”

The 2017 AberDewi Festival marked the third year the event has been held. Thousands gathered in Swansea city centre to take part in the free community event that not only celebrates Saint David’s Day, but everyone who lives in a modern, inclusive and diverse Wales. 


Jane Parker Sky Dive
Charity Sky Dive for Tŷ Hafan – 25 September 2016

Jane Parker Branch Manager of our Swansea office recently took part in a Skydive to raise funds for Tŷ Hafan. 

Tŷ Hafan - the hospice for children in Wales, is one of the UKs leading paediatric palliative care charities and offers care to children and support for their families throughout Wales.  This incredible charity provides expert comfort and support to families in their darkest hours and beyond.

Jane joined fellow daredevils Hayley Davies, CEO and Director of JCP Solicitors and Gavin Jones, owner of Leo Eye Care in Skewen, at Swansea Airport where they flew to 12,000 feet before jumping out of the aircraft.  The event was organised by Hayley in her role as President of Swansea Bay Business Club of which Swansea Building Society and Gavin Jones are fellow members.

This was the last of three events organised by Hayley to raise funds for Tŷ Hafan.

Jane raised £820 through sponsorship which Swansea Building Society will match. A cheque for £1640 will be presented to Swansea Business Club for Tŷ Hafan.  The total funds raised throughout Hayley’s presidential year was in excess of £42,000 at the end of September.


High 5 Awards
High 5 Awards Ceremony – Liberty Stadium 29 October 2016

The High 5 Awards are organised by Swansea Council and rewards Swansea’s most inspirational children and young people.

Jane Parker, Swansea Branch Manager and Martin Lewis, Business Development Manager attended the awards ceremony which Swansea Building Society have sponsored since the scheme was established in 2011.

Other sponsers were Gower College, Swansea City FC, The Wave, Rotary Club of Swansea, Trade Tyres Swansea, Swansea Building Society, Day's Rental, Stenor Environmental Services, Swansea Council's recycling team, Swansea Lord Mayor's Office, Dragon Events, and The Dragon Hotel.

Swans Captain and Ambassador of the High 5, Leon Britton presented honours to those who are overcoming barriers to be the best they can or are improving the lives of others in their families, schools or communities.

Judges honoured a young daughter supporting her mum through cancer and a teenager who won't let illness get in the way of hard work and exam success.

Other winners included a boy turning his behaviour around to make his school and community a better place, teenagers who have overcome troubled childhoods and inspirational young parents overcoming the odds for their own children's future.


New Staff
Swansea Building Society appoints three new staff members as business expands

Swansea Building Society has hired three new members of staff at its Carmarthen branch as the company expands the business into Pembrokeshire.

Jade Francis from Haverfordwest (top photo, right) has been appointed as business development manager for Pembrokeshire. Jade has a solid background in financial services across the South Wales region, having previously worked as a mortgage advisor and financial consultant at Halifax, as well as a financial advisor at Forester Life.

Paula John from Carmarthen (top photo, left) joins the team as manager’s assistant. Paula brings 22 years’ experience in financial services to her new position, having worked most recently at Cooperative Bank and as a financial advisor at Britannia (Coop), Alliance & Leicester and Principality Building Society.

To serve the customers at the Carmarthen branch, chief cashier Jill Allen from Llanelli (bottom photo) has been appointed, bringing with her 32 years’ experience from NatWest.   

Following the opening of the Carmarthen branch in November 2015, Swansea Building Society has experienced more growth in West Wales than anticipated. The society has reported a rise in enquiries from people in Pembrokeshire requiring mortgages and savings accounts. This has meant the company has needed to increase its staff base to meet this demand and continue to provide the highest level of service at the branch.

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, suggests the growth of the Carmarthen branch is a result of being committed to a face-to-face and personable business model that has been well received in the West Wales region and beyond.

Williams commented: “The business is paddling in the opposite direction to mainstream banks in terms of pushing people to the online banking model. We pride ourselves on providing a more personal approach to our service and really engaging with our customers as much as possible.

“Expanding to serve the people of Pembrokeshire was the natural course for the business due to the number of people from this area approaching the Carmarthen branch for services. This growth has therefore meant we have been able to invest in talented local people and provide them with jobs with the society.”

Swansea Building Society plans to continue its expansion of the business, with the view to branch into Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to meet demand for its services. 


Swansea Building Society becomes headline sponsor of PRIME Cymru

Swansea Building Society has become the main sponsor of PRIME Cymru; the only organisation in Wales dedicated to providing practical support to people aged 50 and over, who want to become and remain economically active.

The financial services company, which has branches in Swansea, Mumbles and Carmarthen, has provided substantial financial support to the charity as part of its corporate social responsibility programme and dedication to giving back to its customers and community.

PRIME Cymru was established in 2001. Since inception, the organisation has engaged with over 20,000 people over the age of 50 in Wales and has helped over 11,000 of these to find employment, set-up a business, retrain, or become active community volunteers. The charity also runs the largest mentoring programme in Wales with over 400 volunteer mentors.

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said he was honoured to be associated with such a worthy Welsh charity.

Alun commented:
“We are very proud to have this association with PRIME Cymru through being the charity’s main sponsor, especially as it’s a charity that really means something to the business and our stakeholders.

“Due to the longevity of the business, which was founded back in 1923, Swansea Building Society has many long-term and loyal customers. These customers can relate to the matters addressed by PRIME Cymru, which is why we are more than happy to provide our support across the country for its users.”

Jules Weston, head of communications and fundraising at PRIME Cymru, said:

“PRIME Cymru is very grateful to Swansea Building Society for its support. We are a charity that is dedicated to providing tailored advice and support to the economically inactive 50 plus age group and without the support from organisations like Swansea Building Society, this wouldn’t be possible.”


Swansea Building Society backs the Whites in three year deal
Swansea Building Society backs the Whites in three year deal

One of Wales’ oldest rugby clubs with deep roots in the Swansea community has partnered with a local financial services company with an almost equally long history and connection to the city.

Swansea Building Society, founded in 1923, has signed a three year deal to be the main kit sponsor of Swansea RFC – itself founded in 1874.

Players from senior teams will display the Swansea Building Society logo as the main branding on shirts from the current season.

Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, said he was delighted to have agreed a long-term partnership with a club with such close connections to the local community and grass roots rugby.

Alun said:

“As a Swansea based company, we are thrilled to support Swansea RFC for three years. The club has a fantastic heritage and also very strong links into the community, which is important to us.

“The club does a great job in promoting sport across a wide age group in the community. We feel that thanks to this partnership both us and the club will benefit from the association. We are now looking forward to a new season and wish the club every success in competitions this year.”


Society step up to sponsor the second Macmillan Cancer Support event
Swansea Building Society step up to sponsor second Macmillan Cancer Support event

With the 19th instalment of the Gower Macmarathon fast approaching, headline sponsors Swansea Building Society are making a last call to get as many people involved and raise as much money as possible for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Swansea Building Society was the headline sponsor of the event for the first time in 2015. The building society is now celebrating its second anniversary of its partnership with the Macmillian event by once again entering a team of walkers made up of staff at the company.

Leading the society’s walkers on 17 September will be chief executive Alun Williams, who took part in last year’s event for the first time, raising £12,000 at the 2015 Macmarathon with his team. The dedicated team will again complete the 22 miles from Rhossili to Mumbles Cricket Club to raise money for specialist cancer services. Walkers taking part in this year’s Macmarathon have the option to complete a 22 or 14-mile walk around the stunning Gower peninsula. The 14-mile option takes walkers from Port Eynon to Mumbles Cricket Club.

For those looking for something a little gentler, event organisers Volunteer Macmillan Swansea Committee, have this year added a two-mile walk from Caswell Bay to Mumbles Cricket Club.

Last year’s ‘Coming of Age’ event raised £174,000. Since the event started in 1997, the fundraiser has raised over £1m for Macmillan Cancer Support. Over 1000 walkers have already registered to take part in the event. Organisers expect all 1200 spaces to be filled on the day.

Commenting on the sponsorship and the team’s efforts, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, Alun Williams, said: 
“We are delighted once again to be sponsoring and taking part in this very popular fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support. It’s great that we can put something back into the local community as the only building society or bank with its headquarters in West Wales. I enjoyed taking part last year for the first time. It’s a fun social event and it helps with the fitness too, so I’m delighted that the Swansea Building Society is the headline sponsor and taking part once again. We hope that we can add to the money we raised last year.”

South Wales fundraising manager, Kathryn Morgan, thanked Swansea Building Society for their continued support as sponsors of the annual event:
“We are very grateful to have the support of Swansea Building Society again this year. As the event enters its 19th year, it’s wonderful to see the fundraiser is increasingly being supported year on year. We’re overwhelmed that the total money raised from this event, which originally started with just a handful of local walkers, has crossed the £1m mark.”

In Wales, over 19,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year. More than 130,000 people are currently living with or beyond cancer. By 2030, it is expected that this figure will double. Encouragingly, survival rates are steadily improving and many people recover from cancer.