Claire Crossan joined the Cumberland as a cashier straight from school in 1987, but for the past two years she’s been the society’s customer experience manager, ensuring a consistent approach across all 32 branches.
Looking back on her 36 years with the Cumberland, the changes in society and in the business have been dramatic.
“When I joined we didn't actually have computers, we just hand-wrote everything. We hand-wrote a customer passbook, and a transaction sheet, and those sheets were posted every night and then processed by head office the next day.
“So when I look back, it was a really manual process compared to today. The way we do things has developed significantly over the years”
“Some customers still love coming in to update their passbooks. But now some people want to bank online or by telephone. So it isn't just about the face-to-face experience - it's a whole customer experience, and that is one of the biggest changes that I've seen throughout my career,” she said.
Preston cluster manager James Cookson believes the Cumberland’s commitment to customers is unchanged.
“Preston’s the oldest of the Cumberland’s branches outside of Carlisle, so celebrating fifty years of being there for our people, our customers, is a really big milestone, particularly in a changing landscape for financial institutions.
“We have really good digital services, but there are times when customers want to speak to a person. It could be where they need some help and support, so being able to talk through something with a real person is really important.
“And you build relationships with customers from when they've opened their first accounts with us, and their children have too. And now we’re seeing grandchildren coming to open accounts.”
Debbie Shearer joined the Cumberland in 1989 as an office junior in Carlisle’s English Street branch, just a year after it opened, before working in numerous branches across the network.
She’s now head of first line risk, but her belief in the branch network’s value to customers and communities remains.
“We build up good relationships and bonds with our customers,” she explained. “When I was at English Street, I got to know the lady who comes in every Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock and she wants money out of her account.
“Then I went off on my tour of other branches and came back twenty years later, and the same lady is still coming in every Tuesday morning at 10 o’clock.
“For a lot of our customers, they just like coming to see us; it's part of their week.”