How the Yorkshire Building Society is pioneering the future of banking – Tina Hughes
Meanwhile, the debate continues over the future of retail banking and its future development.
Perhaps now is the time to advocate for a pragmatic approach, where digital and physical approaches to money management are mixed.
If we do not offer current accounts, the same principles apply to savings management. We understand that our customers want to do business with us in the way that’s best for them.
Rather than forcing them to choose between managing their savings only through digital channels or only through a branch, at Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) we take a hybrid approach to empower and empower our clients to manage their savings according to their preferences. .
We do this by making a commitment to our branch network with ever-growing digital capacity. We believe we now offer a true hybrid approach to accessing our mortgages and savings, whether through digital channels, over the phone or face-to-face.
The pandemic has focused us and other financial service providers on the importance of helping customers choose how they manage their money.
We recently shared research that found almost one in five UK adults have less than £ 100 in savings. Our focus throughout the pandemic continues to be to help our clients build their financial resilience through savings.
So the future of community banking could also mean in-person services to support financial resilience – that’s why we’ve launched a pilot partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau, supporting people who really need hands-on help. .
This pilot program at six Yorkshire Building Society branches (including Wakefield, Barnsley, York and Castleford) welcomes expert advisors from Citizens Advice who provide free and confidential support to members and non-members.
At YBS, we’ve helped people open over 150,000 savings accounts in the first half of this year and helped them access savings when they needed them. We also launched our savings app last year, which has helped over 140,000 customers stay at home and complete digital transactions through a whole new channel.
Nationally we have over 220 branches and agencies across the UK. So we are proving that this hybrid model works for our customers and our members.
We know that in-person service will continue to play an important role in our offering. In recent years, we have opened face-to-face services in cities where we were not previously present and we will continue to seek more opportunities in underserved cities.
Yet the pandemic has highlighted two important ways in which our app or the digital approach more broadly has helped our customers.
The first is to offer customers a choice of access. Digital adoption has naturally accelerated as a quick and easy alternative to face-to-face contact.
And second, as 2020 has clearly shown us, anyone can find themselves in sudden financial difficulties and end up needing to rely more on their savings.
Simply put, we know that customer habits are changing, but we also know from recent research that more than a third of people would still prefer face-to-face service when seeking help, advice. advice and support. So while we should definitely be helping customers gain more control over their savings with our mobile app and online services, we also believe they value the role our retail network plays.
Digital banking versus branch banking can be a very emotional topic for local communities. If building companies and banks are serious about reconnecting with local communities, it will be essential to mix physical with digital and offer new community services in branches.
Hybrid money management could be a way to unlock greater financial resilience for communities across the country, which can only serve to build financial resilience as we rebuild after the pandemic.
Tina Hughes is Director of Savings for the Yorkshire Building Society.
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