If you’ve read my previous post Scran up north you will know I’m working with the Cumberland Building Society on their #Grinupnorth Campagin, as part of this I was invited into a local branch to talk to one of their advisors. The branch manager Jack Green contacted me and set the meeting up, I also received a text message reminder of the appointment, which was handy because I forgot which branch I was going to.
There are 5 branches in Carlisle, which is unheard of now in terms of Banking, as more and more is pushed online.
I was late, which is fairly typical for me as I regularly miss-judge the time it takes to get a toddler out of the house. But I arrived, was welcomed with a cup of coffee and apologised for the fact I was wearing a t-shirt, which I’m almost certain had mushed banana on.
I wanted to talk about savings…..We started a savings account when Effy was born, we contribute every month to it, along with my parents. The plan is to let this build up and when she’s 18, she can have access to it. It’ll likely work out at approximately £20,000. So although not millions, a fairly decent amount for her to either use towards a house, a car or travelling. Whatever she wants to do with it really, but ideally she won’t decide to spend it all on shoes. When we opened the account, we just wanted something straightforward, and something we could easily pay into.
The account we have at the moment pays 1.50% interest, which although gives us a little bit, isn’t great really in the long term. One of jack’s first questions was, are we planning to withdraw from it…….we aren’t. This is Effy’s account and not a little pot for us to dip into when we want a holiday or a weekend away. On this basis we are better using Cash Junior ISA, which although does not allow withdrawals, gives us a much better rate. Over an 18yr period, that could make a big difference as the account balance grows. On the Effy’s 18th birthday, the account will be transferred to a Cash ISA with instant access and the Effy will be able to make withdrawals. To open an account like this is fairly straightforward, book an appointment by contacting a local branch or using the online system. Turn up without banana on your t-shirt (this isn’t actually stipulated by the Cumberland) and provide some ID and proof of address.
We also talked more generally about the ethos of The Cumberland. I spoke about this in my weekly vlog No Drone Zone, I even sing the catchy advert they used to do on TV and local radio (skip to 13:50, to hear my rendition). The Cumberland value their local customers. They are also extremely proud of the customer service they provide and their bank account customers are the happiest in the UK according to research undertaken by Fairer Finance. You will struggle to find a person in Carlisle who hasn’t held a Cumberland Building Society account at some point in their lives, they are as well-known as Cumberland Sausage ‘up north’. What was clear from my meeting with Jack was that this focus on customer service and large number of local branches is at the heart of the business. This doesn’t mean they can’t offer the same type of services that everyone has come to expect from large, worldwide banks:
- Online appointment booking
- Contactless debit cards
- Internet banking
- Mobile Banking app
- Pay2mobile (mobile payment system like Barclays Pingit)
- Free Card use abroad (On The Cumberland Plus account)
I could go on but check out their website for all the services offered.
The Cumberland has 34 branches located across Cumbria and North Lancashire offering mortgages, savings, current accounts and home insurance. It was named ‘Best Regional Building Society’ for a third year at the 2017 Mortgage Finance Gazette awards. Its businesses like this who make the ‘north’ a great place to live. I’m proud to be from Cumbria and will continue to #grinupnorth
This post has been completed in collaboration with The Cumberland . This article should not be relied upon when making investment decisions. Always obtain financial advice.