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Cumberland Building Society

Cumberland Building Society is a mutual building society which has 35 branches operating in Cumbria, South-West Scotland, West Northumberland and North Lancashire. The Society requires all staff to always be aware of customer vulnerabilities, including dementia, and to safeguard its customers from the risk of financial harm. It is a key principle of the Society that our products and services are clear, straightforward and accessible. We recognise our duties in terms of responsible lending and financial inclusion and are committed to treating our customers fairly.

16 August 2017
North West
Local Alliances:
Carlisle Dementia Action Alliance , Penrith Dementia Action Alliance , Kendal Dementia Action Alliance, Workington Dementia Action Alliance (DAA)

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Our branches are community focused and are encouraged to be active within the local community. As a result of this, our branch staff are well-known in the community and get to know our customers. Regular training on vulnerability, which includes people with dementia, allows staff to receive refresher training on how to identify signs where a customer may require assistance and look at alternative options to assist customers and their carers. Our Society’s Branch Managers are all dementia friends as well as some Customer Service Managers.

The Society operates a Mother Test, where all staff are asked to treat all customers as they would with their own Mother. In 2016, the Society was Highly Commended by the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards for its Customer Service and Treating Customers Fairly in recognition for work involving vulnerable customer projects and the Mother Test.

The Society is committed to joining forces with other organisations and making Carlisle dementia friendly.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The Society is required to meet FCA regulatory requirements when dealing with all of our customers. It is important that we find a sustainable balance between meeting regulatory requirements and helping our customers who require assistance on an individual basis.

We have a responsibility to keep our customers’ accounts secure; however when dealing with customers who have dementia this can be a challenge with factors such as customers dealing with dementia writing down PINs, making larger or more frequent withdrawals than their usual transaction pattern and working with third parties who may not have the relevant access in place to assist a customer with dementia.

Member website


2. Actions

  • Training at least annually to all branch staff and customer service staff

    Training is to refresh staff knowledge and identify best practice ways for us to individually treat our customers with dementia and other vulnerabilities.

    The Society are rolling out regular training on various vulnerabilities; however, we aim to provide refresher training to all staff in branches and customer services around how to help our customers with dementia

    Being implemented
  • Introducing vulnerable customer champions in branches and being points of contact for customers dealing with dementia

    Introducing vulnerable customer champions in branches where the staff member is able to support their colleagues with vulnerability issues and the champion becomes a point of contact for a customer with dementia. The staff member knows of a customer’s dementia and their background in order to assist them and a familiar face that they can rely on. They would then be more likely to identify if the customer’s health is deteriorating or a requirement for further assistance in the services they require.
  • All staff treating all our customers individually as how we would treat our own mothers.

    Using our in-house 'Mother Test', where all staff are expected to treat all our customers as they would with their own mother. This includes awareness of individual customer needs whilst being patient and attentive

    Being implemented