As a parent, my biggest worry in life will always be my children, closely followed by our finances. As a large family with just one main income, I worry a lot about money and how we will provide for the children, not just now but as they grow, supporting them through college and university, helping them with their first car, their first house or funding their weddings. We have been very lucky that my parents have helped us out in so many ways and I would love to do the same for my children in the future.
For that reason we have been looking into opening savings accounts for each of the children, somewhere to add a little something each month.
I was invited along to The Cumberland to find out what they had to offer. For those of you living further South than I do, you may have never heard of The Cumberland building society, and I’ll be honest, until a couple of weeks ago, neither had I.
As a building society, The Cumberland is different from a bank. Firstly it is an independent and mutual organisation entirely owned by, and run for, its members. Based in the North of England, and creeping into the Southern borders of Scotland, The Cumberland has more branches in Cumbria than any other bank or building society. And unlike almost any other building society it offers bank accounts. Secondly, The Cumberland is environmentally conscientious and hugely charitable. In the last year The Cumberland has donated more than £100,000 to local projects, something that really does stand them apart.
Yesterday I went along to my local branch in Preston where I met with the most helpful and friendly member of staff, Alistair. Unlike other banks where the service can feel very impersonal, I was met with a warm welcome, offered a cup of tea or coffee, and taken into a quiet side room where I could discuss my banking needs privately. The thing that struck me the most was just how laid back our appointment was, there was no pushy sales patter, no flurry of information, facts and figures, or slating the opposition, just a friendly face and a man who clearly loved his job.
Alistair explained to me that The Cumberland has the products to offer a lifetime of finances to each individual. Starting with junior savings accounts, current accounts and mortgages, right through to savings accounts and ISA’s. And I love the idea of coming full circle, the fact that some of the longer standing members of staff at my local branch have witnessed the babies for whom they opened savings accounts for as newborns return to the building society to open accounts for their own children many years later.
Although my visit to The Cumberland was with junior savings accounts in mind, whilst there I spotted a poster supporting the #GrinUpNorth campaign challenging those needing a mortgage that if the Cumberland isn’t cheaper* they’ll give you two free cinema tickets. I think it speaks volumes about the confidence in their products, and although we are currently tied in to our mortgage for another twelve months, I will undoubtedly return for a quote next year.
After leaving my appointment with Alistair I felt completely clued up, focused, and safe in the knowledge that should I choose to place our investments with The Cumberland, the service provided would be second to none. Alistair hailed The Cumberland as a “hidden gem” and I have to agree. It comes as no surprise to hear that The Cumberland took first place in the Fairer Finance awards for having the happiest banking customers in the UK, and that really is something to be proud of.
Although I had not heard of the building society until recently, and I had walked past their building countless times over the years, unlike other banks and buildings that overpower you with advertising, with hard sell and constant endorsements, The Cumberland is confident that their products speak for themselves. And, as always, the biggest thing for me as a blogger is to only ever recommend the things that I truly believe in, and I am more than happy to put my money where my mouth is and return to The Cumberland next week to open up our children’s savings accounts.
* If the total cost of your monthly mortgage payments and arrangement fee during the initial product term (i.e. 2 year fix, 5 year variable etc.) is cheaper than the Cumberland’s equivalent mortgage product, you’ll get two tickets to the cinema. Terms and conditions apply.
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.