James Bawa

Building Society chief donates his annual bonus to local charity

James Bawa, the CEO of Monmouthshire Building Society, has donated his annual bonus to The Wallich, the Welsh homeless charity, along with an overseas education charity.

The funds will be used specifically by the Newport Rough Sleepers Intervention Team which provides a vital outreach service to support homeless and vulnerably housed individuals in relation to wide-ranging issues such as accommodation, physical and mental health, financial inclusion and substance misuse issues.

By enhancing the support currently offered, the team aim to increase the chances of successful outcomes for individuals and help prevent them becoming entrenched in homelessness.

The Wallich has been providing accommodation and support services for homeless people for over 30 years.

The organisation specialises in providing services for people with multiple, complex needs; people who, because of their high support needs, are often banned or excluded from other services and have difficulty in accessing accommodation.

Its ultimate aim is to ensure that all people have access to support that is appropriate to their needs, and that long-term solutions, rather than short term fixes, are developed in partnership with the person.

Bawa said: “I’m relatively new to Newport, having joined the Society in November 2016, and it struck me early on just how visible the issue of homelessness is in and around the city centre.

“I’ve been inspired by the countless people I see buying snacks or handing over change, and wondered if there was anything I could do to make a difference.

“Choosing to give back to the community via such a worthwhile charity was an easy decision for me to make, and I hope that my decision inspires others in similar positions to give back to the communities that they serve.”

Denise Rogers, assistant manager at The Wallich in Newport, added: “It is incredibly heartening to know that local business people are prepared to stand and be counted in making positive change.

“There has been a huge rise in the numbers of rough sleepers in Newport and the team are working tirelessly to provide the necessary support for this extremely vulnerable group.

“However, with very limited resources, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide support to so many at the levels required.

“This money will have a huge impact on our provision and as well as helping us to meet the challenges, it will make a difference to those on the streets of Newport for a long time to come.”



James Bawa was appointed chief executive of the society back in November last year following the retirement of Andrew Lewis after 25 years’ service, 11 of which were at the helm.

Prior to joining the society, he was chief executive of Teachers Building Society, which he joined back in 2002. Before joining Teachers, he worked as chief executive at Scottish Legal Life following senior management posts at LV, Friends Provident and NM Schroders.

He is also a member of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Smaller Business Practitioner Panel and previously sat on the Financial Service Authority’s Regulatory Decisions Committee for six years.

In his role as chief executive at Teachers, he developed and implemented best practices to improve customer service and choice to customers.

He is now committed to Monmouthshire Building Society remaining a mutual provider in a market place dominated by large multinationals.

Speaking back in November on his appointment, James said: “Monmouthshire Building Society has built up a strong reputation for delivering outstanding personal service over the past 147 years, and our financial strength is testament to ongoing relationships we’ve had with customers for generations.”

He added: “As a member-owned financial organisation, I’m determined to strengthen the society’s strategy of being the mortgage and savings provider of choice for people within our local area, and to bring back into focus our primary goal to help first time buyers buy their all-important first home.”

Published: 21 June 2017

Article by Bryce Wilcock
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