An organisation that helps people with financial problems is having to cut back – with its Wrexham office set to open just one day a week.
The Cambrian Credit Union currently operates on King Street in town, along with a further four and two libraries across north and mid Wales.
However the financial cooperative has now announced that jobs will be lost and counter service will be slashed in order to cut costs.
As a result, the offices in Wrexham, Caernarfon and Denbigh will now only open for one day a week – despite currently being open five days.
Part-time counter services at Newtown and Welshpool libraries are to be slashed completely, leaving Rhyl and Llandudno Junction as the only offices open five days a week from October onwards.
The North Wales Credit Union was established in 2010 following the merger of Caledfryn, Clwyd Coast, Llandudno, Wrexham and Y Llechen Credit Unions, joined by Hafren Credit Union in May 2015 before changing its name the following year.
According to its website , it currently has over 12,000 adult members and 1,500 junior savers, employing over 30 members of staff and around 50 volunteers. It is not yet known how many jobs will be affected.
The number of jobs lost is not yet known, but the decision has raised concern that the decision could lead to some vulnerable people opting for loan sharks due to the office closures.
A spokesperson for the Cambrian Credit Union Board, noted: “We have nearly £9m in savings which is totally protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
“This money cannot be used for speculative investments and the way that we make a surplus is via the loans that we make to our members. Any surplus after operating costs may be returned to our members as a dividend.
“In recent years our loan revenue has not been covering our operational costs. This means we have not paid a dividend and we are forced to make changes to improve the situation.
“Regretfully, this means that we are reducing staff numbers and office opening hours. This is not a decision taken lightly.
“In order to best serve members, the offices with highest footfall – Rhyl and Llandudno Junction – will remain open five days a week.
“Our Wrexham, Denbigh and Caernarfon Offices will open one day a week and operate a cashless system. Members will still be able to complete loan applications, request BACS transfers and talk to a member of staff.
“Due to exceptionally low footfall in Newtown and Welshpool (of around 25 members a month) we will not offer a face-to-face service. Collection points will also close.
“We were set up to offer savings and affordable loans to our communities, to prevent people falling into the hands of high cost lenders and improve the financial wellbeing and this remains our core purpose.
“To improve our loan service, we now give decisions in principle within one working day of receiving an application. People can also apply for a loan either in person, on the telephone or online.”
*Picture: Google Maps
By Gareth Williams – Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).