Plans unveiled for flagship building society’s branch

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Design Time have been working closely with The Cumberland Building Society over the last year to develop plans for a branch of the future in Carlisle.

The transformation was influenced and directed by people who visited The Cumberland’s pop-up research hub and branch, which was set up in October 2018 to trial new ideas and gain customer feedback.

With many banks closing branches, The Cumberland will extend and overhaul its English Street branch in Carlisle, so its customers have a completely different experience.

Claire Deekes CBS head of Retail Distribution said: “We found that although digital banking was increasingly popular for day-to-day transactions, many people still valued and often preferred the personal contact they had in branches where they could get help with important financial decisions.

“It is not about automation or self-service, it’s about providing an exceptional customer experience.

“We will have more people working in the branch and the extra space will give us the flexibility to provide our services in the way our customers really want.

“We’re building a warm and welcoming environment so people can be much more comfortable when they want to discuss their finances with us.

“Our research showed that while the number of transactions carried out in branches has declined – as it has across the industry – people still want to be able to talk to a real person, someone who can really get to know them and their financial needs.

“We’ve designed this new branch to allow people to do just that, in whichever way they feel most comfortable.”

The open-plan ground floor will do away with traditional counters. Will said: “We are working on the prototype for their replacements now, which are more welcoming than a counter.”

There will be spaces to sit and discuss finances while enjoying a coffee, private areas for personal advice and learning spaces where people and businesses can get support on subjects from specialist staff.

The branch will expand into the neighbouring shop premises on English Street, which was used as the research hub.

It will also use the two upper floors to provide co-working for customers and local businesses, more than doubling the size of the current branch footprint.

The Cumberland branch in Brampton will close for a refurbishment which will incorporate some of the features that will be a part of the English Street branch.

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