When I think of banking, a personal, tailored service isn’t something that immediately jumps to mind.
Maybe my expectations have been beaten down over the years, or maybe I’ve just naively thought a high street bank is my only option. However, it’s times like this when you actually need to speak with someone without waiting on hold for 3 hours, that it’s nice to realise that maybe you’ve just been choosing the wrong banks all along.
Conister Bank strives to provide a service echoing how banking was back in the good old days. Your bank manager knew you by name and you were a loyal customer for life. Conister have been providing savings and lending to local businesses and individuals on the Isle of Man since 1935. Yup, that’s 85 years of banking. Plans to celebrate their 85th year have naturally been put on the back burner. Despite the challenges and adaptations they, like all of us, are currently facing, for Conister, their customers are still at the forefront of what they do. This has meant thinking outside of the box to ensure they still provide the high standards that they have set, and which their customers thus have come to expect.
So just what is happening now in the world of banking, now we have found ourselves in this topsy turvy version of reality otherwise known as 2020?
Well for Conister, they’re making sure their approach is as personal as it’s always been. With modern technology and the use of the internet most customers apply online to Conister. When dealing with a customer recently who wasn’t particularly fluent in the art of technology, a member of staff went above and beyond their call of duty, by printing out and personally posting a document through the customers letterbox, then waiting for them to sign and post it back through (insert disclaimer about how social distancing measures were obviously followed).
It would be easy to assume that in the midst of a global pandemic, taking out a loan is the last thing anyone would want – and Conister initially thought the same. Cycle 360, Bikestyle, Eurocycles and Erin Bike Hut have experienced a surge in new customers during lockdown, via their online portal Conister have been able to provide finance to many new customers. Not only is it clear we are REALLY into cycling on the Isle of Man, but to see so many customers shopping local at this time is definitely a small win; having these finance packages in place means these small, often family run businesses, are still trading.
But, by partnering with the Isle of Man Government to support their Disruption Loan Guarantee Scheme, Conister are helping to provide a cash flow to maintain the day to day running of local businesses – helping to ensure they can cover essentials such as rental costs, wages, continuation of projects and bills.
One of 5 banks involved with the scheme, Conister will assist not only their own customers but will welcome on board new customers. Each enquiry is sent straight through to the Head of Sales, Andy Bass, who ensures they are dealt with on a case by case basis – this personal approach is what sets Conister aside from your traditional high street banks. The Isle of Man Government website advises you to ‘contact your bank’ for more information, and in this situation, you want and need help and guidance as soon as you can get it. Utilising their local knowledge, Conister can ensure they are keeping the businesses’ best interests at heart and ultimately looking out for the Island that they, and we, so dearly love.
Right now, there are a lot of tough conversations being had; some businesses are unsure how they will survive after COVID-19 and it’s understandably frightening for a lot of people. Being able to provide help on such a human level is vital in a time like this.