WHILE the global pandemic has put the brakes on many people’s lives, it doesn’t appear to have slowed the property market down.

Cumberland Building Society may not be seeing as many customers through the doors of its branches right now, but their services are just as sought-after as ever.

“We’ve seen a big uplift in mortgage enquiries over the last few months, even compared to where they were pre-Covid," Barrow and Ulverston branch manager Lyndsey Taylor said.

"The housing market is definitely buoyant. September saw 30 per cent more first time buyer enquiries than the same time last year, carrying on a trend which started three months ago.

“There are plenty of people looking at new houses, and a lot of first-time buyers who have made the decision to buy a house.

“The lockdown appears to have had an effect. It’s meant a lot of people haven’t been on holiday but have saved more. They might have been doing home improvements getting ready to sell or looking at ways to help their kids get on the housing ladder.”

The Mail:

The Cumberland needed to remain open throughout lockdown, and some of the measures it introduced look set to stay for the foreseeable future.

“We’re doing things a bit differently to ensure we can continue to keep our customers and our colleagues safe," Ms Taylor continued.

"We’re encouraging our mortgage customers to have telephone appointments where possible, although our branch network remains open for those that need it.

“At the start of the lockdown, the provision of banking was deemed an essential service by the Government.

"This meant we were asking our people to continue working in our branches, contact team and head office in the face of an uncertain and potentially harmful situation.

“Those colleagues that needed to remain at home to care for family or shield were able to stay home even before the lockdown.

"Those that were able to keep working did so tirelessly. We had colleagues temporarily working in completely new roles in different branches and departments to ensure the business could continue to provide the best possible customer service.

The Mail:

"The 12 staff that cover Barrow and Ulverston have all been working throughout lockdown, and being a very public-facing job, it means that most customers prefer to meet face-to-face.

"However, for some who have been shielding or others that are being extra cautious in these uncertain times, The Cumberland is doing all it can to make sure they are supported.

“At the start of the lockdown we contacted our regular customers and some of our more vulnerable customers to reassure them and explain what was going on and the ways we could help them with things like banking remotely.”

“If people are still wary about coming into a branch, I’d urge them to give us a call because we will find a way to help.

“We will always try to accommodate people’s needs, and we’ll show people how to use internet banking, or if someone just wants a balance check, we’ll put it in the post to them.

To find out more about The Cumberland, visit brighterbanking.co.uk.

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