The Co-operative Bank has launched a new partnership with Co-op Legal Services (CLS), piloting an initiative that will provide the bank’s customers with access to specialist legal support.
A subsidiary of the Co-op Group, CLS will offer specialist services such as probate and estate to the bank’s customers. This is part of the support offered by the bank to customers, their families and loved ones “at difficult times in their lives, including in times of bereavement”.
The initiative will run as a pilot for 12 months to understand customer appetite for these specialist services, which also includes estate planning and wills.
CLS is the largest provider of probate and estate administration services in England and Wales, dealing with over £1.8bn in estates annually.
A press release from the Co-op Bank – formerly owned by the Group until it was sold to private investors in the wake of its financial collapse in 2013 – said: “CLS’s values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are a natural fit with the co-operative values and ethics that the Co-operative Bank was founded upon 150 years ago. Access to legal services is something that many of the Bank’s customers require and giving the option to take these services in partnership with CLS is an important step in improving customer experience.”
The bank will donate a proportion of its commission from the partnership to Hospice UK, one of its core charity partners, pledging a minimum donation of £25,000 in 2023. Its support for Hospice UK began in 2016 and since then it has donated thousands of pounds through a number of initiatives.
Darrell Evans, managing director of retail banking at the bank, said: “We know that our colleagues have a strong affiliation with Hospice UK. In honour of the Co-operative Bank’s 150th anniversary year, all Co-operative Bank colleagues were asked to choose a charity to which the bank would give a small donation on their behalf, and a significant proportion of our colleagues chose Hospice UK as their designated charity.
“I am delighted that we can support Hospice UK in this way whilst improving our offering to customers with our like-minded partners, Co-op Legal Services.”
Caoilionn Hurley, managing director at CLS, said: “Co-op Legal Services is delighted to be partnering with the Co-operative Bank to provide probate and estate planning services to their customers. Both organisations share very similar values of openness, honesty, and social responsibility, this synergy provides a strong foundation for making legal services more accessible to the bank’s customers.”
Toby Porter, CEO of Hospice UK, said: “We are hugely grateful to the Co-operative Bank for choosing to support Hospice UK via their new initiative that will provide their customers with access to legal support. As the national charity for hospice and end of life care, we know the importance of planning for the end of your life. In particular, we understand how difficult it can be dealing with legal issues at a very difficult time after someone we love has died.”