Source: Lloyds TSB
Lloyds TSB has today launched a new current account with a range of benefits, ideally suited for people who have recently moved to the UK, particularly the growing Polish community.
The Silver account is the latest addition to a range of initiatives launched by the bank, including the opening of a number of stores that cater for the needs of customers from overseas.
The Silver account is available nationwide and offers customers up to £355 of benefits. As well as a VISA debit card, customers benefit from European travel insurance, which until now has been unavailable to recent arrivals; mobile phone insurance; roadside assistance; Sentinel Card Protection and an exclusive saver account. Normally £7.95, the account will be available for just £2 per month until 31 October 2007, providing customers pay in at least £500 each month.
The account also includes a money transfer card to enable customers to send money back home with ease. The card can be sent to a designated family member or friend who can then use the pre-loaded card for cash withdrawals and purchases wherever VISA is accepted.
Research amongst the Polish community in the UK, Lloyds TSB's largest foreign national group, revealed that the top banking priority is to be able to transfer money to family in Poland in an easy and safe way (1). Over two fifths of respondents recently transferred money back to Poland and nearly three quarters plan to do so again in the near future. The majority transfer between £100 and £500 per transaction and typically send money home every one or two months. The main reasons for making transfers include; support for their family and saving for their own future.
Caroline Brady, head of segments at Lloyds TSB, said: "The rapidly expanding Polish community is having a major impact on the UK current account market. In the past 12 months we have experienced a surge in the number of new accounts being opened, with over 100,000 new current accounts opened by Polish customers last year alone.
"The introduction of the new Silver account is one of a number of steps we have taken to meet the growing demands of the Polish community. At the beginning of the year, we opened the UK's first international banking store in Manchester, which specialises in serving customers from overseas. Following its success, we are set to open several other international branches across the UK in the next few months. We have already recruited a significant number of fluent Polish speakers in our branches and the aim this year is to ensure that we have Polish speaking staff in every one of our key stores that is near a Polish community."
Polish language brochures are also available in the bank's top 130 Polish serving branches and identification requirements have been simplified to make it easier for new customers to open a current account. In most cases customers now only need one form of photo identification, such as passport or EU identity card, to open a current account. This is a real benefit for customers who are new to the country and might not have identification in the form of utility bills, for example.
Lloyds TSB is also one of the first banks in the UK to offer credit facilities for recent arrivals to the country. New arrivals can now apply for its Classic credit card. To qualify, customers will need to have been resident in the UK and have held a Lloyds TSB current account for at least three months, paying a minimum of £500 each month into their account. Applicants also must have an annual salary of £10,000 or more (2). The credit card offer is being rolled out in 250 Lloyds TSB stores across the country.
(1) Research conducted by BDRC in August 2006.
(2) Credit limits will vary depending on customers' individual circumstances but will typically be set between £300 and £500 with an APR of 27.9%