Our business was founded 170 years ago by people that wanted to make a positive difference. This principle remains at the heart of who we are today. But times change and our impact now extends beyond helping people with their financial goals. We have a responsibility to be more. This means we need to work hard to develop and evolve our business so we can play our part in addressing the social and environmental challenges that we all face together.
Our five core values underpin who we are and what we stand for. They form the basis of how we approach our business and they guide every decision we make.
These values ensure we do the right thing by our customers, communities and colleagues, and help us to make a positive difference every day. We have embedded these values across our business, from the boardroom to the branches, sharing our culture with our colleagues and passing it on in everything we all do.
We’re proud of the culture these values have helped create, but we’re constantly looking for ways we can improve.
We talk about our values regularly, from informal chats through to formal governance decisions, ensuring they're not just a sign on the wall or something we talk about once a year, but genuinely and consistently at the front of everyone’s mind.
Building societies like The Cumberland are different to banks because we are owned by our customers. We have no public or private shareholders expecting us to prioritise profits - our profits are invested back into the business for the benefit of our customers. As a result, we can make our business financially strong and socially responsible.
In practice this means we can keep providing you with competitive long-term value on our products while providing financial support to good causes in our local communities. We’re also able to continue investing in building a sustainable business for current and future generations, creating employment and development opportunities for hundreds of people across our region.
Our goal is to provide an exceptional customer service. One of the ways we check this is to use the independent review platform, Feefo. They ask our customers to rate our service, and every single review we receive is published on both their and our website. You can read them here.
As a direct result of the feedback our customers have given them, Feefo have awarded us with the Platinum Trusted Service Award. This is only awarded to businesses who have achieved consistently high ratings over at least three years.
As you’d imagine, we’re delighted with this, but by no means are we resting on our laurels. We’re also acutely aware we don’t get things right all the time. If, for whatever reason, you are not happy with any aspect of our service we’re keen to hear from you. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to sort any issue out for you.
We ensure our products and services are fair to customers in the terms and conditions, fees and charges. We are continually reviewing and improving our processes and documentation to make them as straightforward as possible.
We will always try and help customers in financial difficulty. We will provide guidance and support and adopt a responsible approach to lending for anyone facing issues. Our charitable funding also supports this approach by prioritising projects which help customers avoid financial problems through the support of financial education.
We are a Living Wage employer and we base our employee reward schemes on performance against our values framework and on quality of service and good customer outcomes rather than volume of sales. We are also signatories of the Women in Finance Charter, committing us to improve female representation across our business. We were delighted to achieve our target of having females holding at least 33% of our Senior Leadership Team and Board positions – a platform from which we hope to improve further.
We have a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group who continue to review policies and procedures to identify any issues/barriers why women are not applying or progressing into more senior roles. A more flexible approach to working has already been introduced in many areas of The Cumberland where possible and we have enhanced our family friendly schemes.
Finally, in the highly unlikely event that our business should experience financial problems we are members of the Financial Services Compensations Scheme (FSCS) so your money, up to a maximum of £85,000, is covered. Find out more about the scheme here.
We are proud to be part of our local communities and we are committed to supporting the people that have supported us for 170 years. We want to make a positive difference to lives and livelihoods now and in the future, and we do this in a number of ways.
We are among the top 2% of organisations in the world that donate 1.5 percent of profits to actively support charitable causes and projects – and the majority of our financial support goes straight to projects benefitting people in our area.
Our support is not just financial. Our people are given a day’s paid leave every year to volunteer with local good causes and charities. As our advocates in the local community, we are reassured that they take pride in The Cumberland and embrace our values, taking up opportunities to volunteer and support local charitable projects and initiatives on our behalf.
Our people are the day-to-day faces of our business when they interact with you and are at the heart of our organisation.
We want all of our people to enjoy coming to work and feel happy, safe and valued. We are committed to equality for all, regardless of gender, race, religion, background or disability and operate equal opportunities for employment and career progression.
Looking after the environment is a job undertaken one step at a time and at The Cumberland we believe that every small change can make a difference.
We understand the impact we have on the environment and are taking steps to ensure we are making changes. We recycle waste and use recycled products whenever we can in all of our branches and head office. We operate energy and water-saving methods and purchase Fair Trade products wherever feasible.
By helping to look after the planet we’re working to look after our people and our customers – the circle of benefit keeps on widening as our efforts continue.
We know that ‘ethical’ can mean many things to many people. Our customers can be sure that operating every part of our business and the people that it touches, in line with our values, will always be our priority. It is, and always has been, what The Cumberland stands for.
We are proud that the hard work and commitment of our people has been recognised for this by organisations that seek out and celebrate excellence in ethical and sustainable business practice.
Most recently this includes being a finalist in Best Ethical Financial Provider at the 2021 British Bank Awards, as well as receiving an accolade from Ethical Consumer Magazine for providing one of the UK’s most ethical current accounts.
Being a customer of The Cumberland means you know your money is being used to help others like you achieve their own financial goals.
At its core, our business model is relatively simple. We use the savings our customers deposit with us to lend to people and businesses to buy property. The majority of our lending is to people in North West England and South West Scotland who are buying a home, but we also specialise in some areas of commercial lending like hospitality mortgages and holiday lets - industries our region is particularly celebrated for.
We don’t make direct investments in stocks and shares and we do not provide funding for fossil fuel projects or companies. As a result, many of the issues associated with ethical investment, such as avoiding companies involved in negative ethical issues, do not apply to our business, and we don’t invest your money outside the UK.
We believe all businesses should pay their way and we strictly adhere to both the regulation and spirit of UK tax legislation. We want to play our part in the local and national economy and we don’t think you would expect or accept anything less from us.
Our Annual Report publishes full details of our approach and activities, but if you’ve got a question in the meantime, please ask. We’ll do our best to give you a straight answer.