Co-op Bank trial offers customer friendly access to legal services
The Co-operative Bank launched a pioneering trial to offer a range of legal and life planning services to customers through its high street branches.
The trial at selected branches of The Co-operative Bank and Britannia comes in response to customer research that indicates that consumers feel daunted by consulting solicitors and that they fear the costs associated with dealing with solicitors.
The Co-operative Legal Services, which like the Bank is part of The Co-operative Group, is at the forefront of a revolution in legal services which will create a more competitive environment providing consumers with a wider choice of firms to choose from and which will encourage better customer service, innovation and clearer more transparent products and services.
The pilot will offer a more customer friendly and approachable alternative for consumers to access expert advice and guidance for will-writing, probate and Life Planning services through 30 Co-operative Bank and Britannia branches.
The Co-operative plans to be one of the first national brands to be offered a new licence which will be issued to approved businesses when the Alternative Business Structure (ABS) new rules come into effect in the New Year.
Rod Bulmer, The Co-operative Bank's Managing Director, Retail, said: "The Co-operative is in the unique position of being able to combine a trusted bank brand with a successful legal services division. By bringing these businesses closer together we can offer our customers much greater access to day-to-day legal services and offer better value-for-money."
Eddie Ryan, Managing Director of The Co-operative Legal Services, is also enthusiastic about the project: "It's an exciting trial for The Co-operative and for customers because it allows us to help so many more people, either through planning for their own future or by providing help and support at difficult times."
The Co-operative Legal Services was set up five years ago and is already a leading provider of legal services providing consumers with will writing, probate and estate administration services as well as help with employment issues, personal injury claims and conveyancing.
Co-operative Legal Services continues to grow rapidly, currently employing more than 400 legally qualified staff, and will fully asses the pilot scheme before deciding on its next move.