The Cumberland has today launched the first current account in the UK designed specifically for apprentices.
The Freedom Apprentice Account has already gained the backing of local apprentices, employers and MPs.
It was developed with apprentices from Gen2, the region’s largest training provider for apprentices.
The new account offers apprentices all that they need to manage their finances as they start work – with full internet banking and mobile app, Apple and Google Pay – as well as access to a preferential savings account normally reserved for premium current account holders.
Another unique feature of the account is a new online help system via Facebook Messenger.
Apprentices can also use any of the Cumberland’s 34 local branches, or its Carlisle–based call centre, which is open 7 days a week.
Jake Bell, 18, a Customer Service apprentice at Gen2, said: “Starting an apprenticeship really feels like starting a career, and essentially I am just going into work and earning a wage the same as anyone else.
“University isn’t for everyone and apprenticeships are respected as much as degrees now, so it’s great to see The Cumberland catering for us.
“I don’t think the banks have really thought about apprentices – they seem to just focus on pushing student accounts and kids accounts, both of which aren’t really suitable for me.”
Des Moore, the Cumberland’s new Chief Executive, said: “Cumbria has proportionately some of the highest numbers of apprentices in the UK, and when talking to local apprentices at Gen2 and in our own business, their feedback was clear: banks only seem to offer preferential accounts to people who are going to university, and basic youth accounts aren’t giving them what they need.
“We’re delighted to be offering apprentices an account with easy and convenient digital banking, plus a host of benefits normally found only on our premium Cumberland Plus account.
“Importantly though, we’re on hand to help to provide support for the financial questions that parents can’t answer.
“We recognise how vital apprentices are for the future of the North-West, so it’s only right that we provide a bank account that actually suits their needs.”
The Cumberland is the only regional building society in the country to offer a current account, and the Apprentice Freedom Account will only be available to apprentices within its operating area – Cumbria, South West Scotland, and North Lancashire.
Its bank account customers have been named the happiest in the UK by Fairer Finance for the last 2 years.
Heidi Clements, HR manager at Gen2, the region’s leading provider of education and skills training for apprentices, said, “For young people starting out as apprentices, this is an important and exciting time of life.
“Apprentices are taking on new levels of responsibility and earning a full time wage for the first time. It is important that they are able to manage their money properly, but also easily.”
John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, commented, “This is an exciting and innovative initiative from the Cumberland Building Society.”
“Apprentices are very important to the whole of the Cumbrian economy. Providing banking facilities aimed directly at apprentices is very helpful and demonstrates the support from the Cumberland for apprentices who are starting out in their careers.”
“It is great to see the Cumberland Building Society as the cutting edge of financial services, whilst at the same time clearly demonstrating their support for apprentices.”