The man with responsibility for RBS and NatWest’s 16.5 million personal and business banking customers visited Derby on Thursday to see how the bank is serving the Derbyshire area and to hear from local customers.
Les Matheson, CEO for personal and business banking, was appointed in February following a major re-structure of the bank. He will now focus his attentions on small businesses, together with personal customers, as head of one of three new businesses focused on customer service.
Support for the Community
Matheson visited Sutton Community Academy in Mansfield, where the local NatWest team have provided support to open the Attic Café, run by students. NatWest staff from Mansfield and North Notts took part in a cake sale, charity walk and other charity events before helping the Academy apply for a £5,000 community grant from NatWest.
Kerry Bott, a Relationship Manager, who helped support the project, says: “The ATTIC is both a social enterprise and a vital resource for local people looking for work. People can make an appointment to use the computers to apply for jobs, and can also get help with CV writing and join support clubs for jobseekers.
“The café is for everyone, but in particular for students and adult learners from the area. A range of practical work-experience and cooking lessons are also on offer. And all this is delivered in an informal, non-patronising setting.
“To run the café and provide the right support to students and adult learners, ATTIC have also hired a full-time member of staff. It’s great that the café’s creating new jobs as well as helping people apply for work themselves. And it’s now becoming self-sufficient, so whatever it sells goes back into running the café and creating more enterprises.”
Matheson also visited Betty’s Farm, a NatWest business customer in Willington, where farm owners Simon and Emma Ruff gave Matheson a tour of their facility for 24,000 laying hens and farm shop. NatWest relationship manager, Rachel Borlace, has closely supported the husband and wife team with finance for their ventures since 2011.
Emma Ruff said of NatWest: “From the start of our business and opening our business account Rachel’s support has been excellent - she really made the process of accessing the cash funding we needed easy. Sometimes it’s just about having someone there to float ideas with. Having direct access to someone who knows and cares about our business is vital and hard to find.”
Striving to improve
After lunch, Les hosted a customer forum to hear feedback on customer service in the local area, before a visit to Derby St. Peters branch to see newly installed technology.
Matheson said: “It has been a pleasure to meet so many of our customers here in Derbyshire and see the great work that our teams are doing to support them.
“We are the biggest bank for business but there is always more we could do. In 2013 the Derby team provided £9m in support for small businesses. We’re already seeing strong growth on that in the first part of this year. It is a challenge for all of us to keep striving to improve our service and help our customers achieve their goals, if we are to meet our ambition to become the most trusted UK bank.”