The Co-operative starts legal revolution in high street bank branches
07 June 2011
Customers of The Co-operative will this week find themselves at the forefront of a high street revolution, when for the first time they can access legal services through their local bank.
The initiative is being pioneered by The Co-operative Legal ServicesThe Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), in order to assess how legal advice can be delivered through selected Britannia branches.
Three Bristol-based branches are taking part in the pilot scheme over the next two weeks and will offer free legal advice to consumers who “drop-in” and to those who want an appointment. The results will then be analysed and used to help CLS formulate its future strategy
Eddie Ryan, Managing Director of CLS, said: “Later this year the Legal Services Act will radically change the way in which solicitor services are delivered in England and Wales.
“The shake-up that the new Act offers is absolutely necessary if legal services are to become more accessible to customers. Many people feel that solicitors communicate with them poorly, use jargon that is confusing and don’t understand how services are priced.
“We believe that the presence of the Co-operative’s trusted brand in the market place, together with our combination of first class products and services, provides customers with both greater accessibility and better value for money.
Rob Bulmer Managing Director, Retail, at CFS added: “There are more than 300 branches of Britannia and The Co-operative Bank across the UK, so this pilot scheme will enable us to assess how legal services can be delivered on the high street. If successful, there is clearly great potential to bring these services under one roof.”
The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has been set up to offer straightforward value-for-money services, provide an ethos of social responsibility and a level of protection that can only be provided by a diverse, multi-billion pound organisation.
When CLS was launched in 2006 it had a target of employing 150 people within a five year period but it has grown much more quickly than expected and currently employs more than 380 staff, who offer legal help and advice on personal injury claims, will writing, probate and estate administration, conveyancing and employment law.
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by almost six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating both The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas.
The Group operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets, employs more than 110,000 people and has an annual turnover of £13.7bn. Further information is available at www.co-operative.coop
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