New multi-million pound investment programme

15 March 2016 • Corporate

The Cambridge today announces it will be investing £3m over the next three years in products and services designed to make it easier for customers to manage their mortgage and savings accounts.

Quickly following a £3m investment in a new IT platform during the last year, the announcement also reiterates the award-winning building society’s commitment to Cambridge and supporting the local community and economy.

The package of improvements includes a major redevelopment of its branch network, a commitment to providing more self-service options for customers and intermediary partners, a new range of savings accounts and more training and development opportunities for its teams.

In 2016, The Cambridge will start to introduce a number of changes to its branch network. By the end of the year St Ives and Sawston branches will have been refurbished, transforming them into contemporary destinations offering a full range of advice-based and self-service options in comfortable and vibrant surroundings. More locations will be refurbished in the next two years.

In June five existing locations will close and two more will see their opening hours amended to reflect customer demand. Burwell, Chesterton Road, Mill Road, Milton and Soham branches will all close with Grafton and Bar Hill branches seeing amended opening hours.

These changes will leave 13 branches all within a 20 mile radius of Cambridge and will allow the reallocation of resource and investment in the channels and services most used by customers. This will include improving the face to face services in the most used remaining branches, the Cambridge-based contact centre and website.

Regular customers of the branches set to close will be written to over the next few days and support given to help them continue to manage their accounts in the lead up to and after the closures.  They will continue to have access to all other 13 branches and improved online and telephone services.

The recent appointment of a dedicated Learning & Development Manager means that time can be devoted to developing the skills teams will need in the future.  Digital workshops will be introduced, again in response to queries from customers who are increasingly viewing their accounts on mobile devices. The Cambridge is also applying to become an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Approved Centre and developing proposals for an in-house Apprenticeship scheme to launch in 2017.

Stephen Mitcham, Chief Executive says “Today’s announcement marks the start of a very important time in The Cambridge’s long history. We’ve been adapting to member needs for over 160 years and we need to continue to do the same now.

“The main reason we’re here is to help people save and buy homes and this is what we’ll continue to concentrate on. We’re not a bank, and nor do we offer banking services, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t innovate and invest in both digital and face to face services to meet the high expectations of our members.

“Providing award-winning service requires dedication and commitment from our teams and we’ve been very careful to consider their views and needs during this time too.  We’re working very closely with the team members affected by the changes to identify other opportunities for them and will continue to invest heavily in training and development to keep knowledge and skills up to date.”

Investment decisions were taken following a full strategic review that considered the changing needs of existing members whilst ensuring future customers were catered for too. Customer feedback indicated that face to face advice and guidance remains critical for big decisions such as taking out a mortgage or choosing between savings accounts, but that there was also a growing demand for more self-service options that made better use of the range of technologies now available to consumers.

Complementing the changes to services offered to customers will be the launch of a new multi-channel savings account and new online functionality designed to support intermediary partners who introduce around 70% of new borrowers to The Cambridge.

Reiterating the commitment The Cambridge has to the region and the communities in which it operates, Stephen said: “Although we have a big change programme ahead of us, it would be foolish to ignore our heritage and the values that make up what The Cambridge is all about.

“We’ll continue our vast community programme that supports the important work charities and community groups do in our local area and continue to play a role in the success of the Cambridge economy by employing local people and supporting local home ownership through our flexible approach to lending.”