NatWest today announces that it has entered into a partnership with Poland's leading retail bank, PKO Bank Polski ('PKO BP') to bolster its service offering to Polish customers.
This partnership is the first of its kind and follows hot on the heels of the launch of NatWest's Welcome Account which was launched in January this year.
Not only does the Welcome Account provide Polish customers in Britain with a current account for their day to day needs but it also comes with a unique Money Transfer Account into which customers can transfer money from their Current Account. These funds can then be accessed by a family member or friend in Poland via a cash machine card, also provided by NatWest, from cash machines in Poland or anywhere in the world.
The Welcome Account is also the only Polish account on the market to offer both internet and telephone banking services in the Polish language, as well as a unique Polish call centre in Manchester.
The first product of the alliance with PKO BP announced today will be the ability for NatWest Welcome Account holders to make free money transfers between their Welcome Accounts in the UK and their PKO BP Accounts in Poland and vice versa. This will be particularly useful as the summer holiday season gets into full swing and a large number of Polish people prepare to go home to visit their families in Poland.
Research amongst the Polish community revealed that Polish customers living in the UK are sending home a total of £528 million per year, with almost half (45%) choosing to send money home for events such as friends' and families' birthdays and almost two fifths (37%) for Mother's Day.
However, there is also evidence that the Polish community are looking to settle in the UK with long term aspirations, since over half (58%) of respondents said they were considering living in the UK permanently.
Additionally, the average Polish speaker surveyed estimated that they were saving almost a quarter (22%) of their average monthly salary in the UK.
Gordon Pell, Chief Executive, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Retail Markets comments: "The NatWest Welcome Account offers our Polish customers a truly unique service with an unrivalled level of Polish language support. Our association with PKO Bank Polski demonstrates our commitment to these customers and our desire to give them the best possible service. We are therefore delighted that PKO Bank Polski chose NatWest as their partner of choice, and look forward to working closely with them.
"We are aware that the needs of our Polish customers have evolved considerably over recent years. Transferring money back home cheaply is still very important to the Polish community, but our research also shows that Polish speakers living in the UK have an increasingly long term vision, with many looking to settle here permanently and even set up businesses here.
"We felt that the best way to respond to the changing needs of our Polish customers was to join forces with Poland's leading retail bank in order to develop the services of our Welcome Account and increase our foothold in this important market."