Be on top of money SUMMER ’09 Smart spending: Using your credit card AIMING HIGH: A new image for N&P SAVING HARDER: Putting your money to work Fresh ideas: Financial advice explained
THE SAVINGS ALTERNATIVE Get more from your money
Plus: THINKING BEYOND CASH • STAYING IN CONTROL • GIVING your feedback
Spend smart on new card N&P makes it easier to manage your borrowing the account is opened. PLATINUM Moving your borrowing CREDIT CARD to the card carries a handling fee equivalent to 3% of the amount you transfer, but once 5186 this fee is paid you can concentrate solely on paying off your debt, with every repayment oving your credit card for 12 months working towards debts to a 0% balance reducing your balance. transfer card can make If you don’t have a balance good sense, especially if your to transfer, you can still spend monthly repayments are only wisely on the card: it offers managing to pay off the interest 0% on new purchases for while leaving the capital three months after it is taken borrowed untouched. out, and up to 50 days interestWith this in mind, N&P has free on card purchases if the launched a new credit card balance is paid in full and on provided by MBNA Europe Bank time every month. Limited. It offers 0% for 12 Once this period is over, months on balance transfers the typical interest rate is made in the first 90 days after 15.9% APR (variable). VALID FROM
Welcome Being on top of money is always important, but even more so when your finances are under pressure. The current economic climate means more people are looking for practical answers to the important, big money questions: how can I get a decent rate on my savings? How can I stay on top of my debts? How can I get my money to do what I need it to do? Be on top of money newsletter aims to help our members answer all of these questions. In this issue we offer jargon-free tips on making your savings work harder (page 6) and take a closer look at the kind of advice on offer from N&P that can give you a better understanding of exactly where you stand with your finances (page 7). We also explain the thinking behind N&P’s plans and look at how your feedback has been at the very heart of these changes (page 4). Offering our members honest, practical suggestions on how to take control of their money is still the reason why N&P exists today, just as it was in the past. We hope you find our guidance helpful. Please do get in touch, either online, via your local branch or over the phone, if there is anything we can do to help you be on top of your money. Mike Hounsell, director of sales and marketing
If you do not pay your balance in full MBNA will use your payments to reduce lower rate balances before higher rate balances. If promotional rate balances are the same we will repay them in the following order: first, the one with the earliest expiry date; if the expiry dates are the same then the one which started first; if the expiry dates, and start date are the same then the one with the lowest standard rate. Promotional rates will no longer apply from the beginning of any statement period during which an account holder has breached their Terms and Conditions. MBNA registered office Stansfield House, Chester Business Park Chester, CH4 9QQ. Registered in England number 2783251. Credit is available, subject to status, only to UK residents aged 18 or over. You cannot transfer balances from another MBNA account. MBNA is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
How to BEST use a credit card
Use your credit card to buy large purchases. Those over £100 and under £30,000 are covered by the Consumer Credit Act. This means if something you have bought is faulty or stolen in transit, for example, the credit card company is held equally as liable by law as the supplier. Try to repay as much as you can each month. Only paying the minimum amount could mean it takes years to pay off even relatively modest amounts. Paying your card off in full means you can take full advantage of the interestfree days on card spending – the money you might have otherwise spent can keep on earning savings interest until you need to pay off your credit card balance.
Find out more by calling us on 0845 300 2511 or speaking to an adviser in your local branch
Family planning for a MORE secure future A new plan could give your family a financial cushion
t won’t lessen the emotional pain of losing a loved one, but providing your family with a cash lump sum after your death could soften the financial blow, or give the people you care about a money boost. How your family spends the cash payout from the 50 Plus Plan from N&P, in partnership with LV=, is entirely up to them. After your death, the plan could provide your family with help for funeral expenses, cover any unpaid bills at your death, or provide your grandchildren with a small nest egg. Premiums for N&P’s Life Insurance Plan start at £5 a month and anyone aged between 50 and 80 years old is guaranteed to be accepted
“Providing your family with a cash lump sum after your death could soften the financial blow” without being asked any medical questions. The sooner you start your plan, the more your loved ones could benefit in the future.
Find out more by calling 0845 300 2511 or speak to an adviser in your local branch
Sniff out your lost account
“More than £850million is still unclaimed”
and National Savings & Investments. You will be asked a series of questions on what you can remember about the account, for example, which company it was with and whether you had a passbook with the account. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the
§ The cost of a typical funeral almost doubled over the decade to 2007, research by Mintel shows. In 1997, the average funeral cost £1,230. By 2007 this had increased to £2,269. § A traditional mahogany coffin could set you back at least £1,000. An
environmentally friendly, recycled cardboard coffin, however, could cost a mere £300 or less. § A North Lincolnshire council has started offering people a webcast service for funerals, allowing anyone unable to attend to watch the service on the Internet.
Members have their say at 2009 AGM
A share of £850m could be yours he free website for tracing lost UK bank accounts, www.mylostaccount.org.uk, has received almost a quarter of a million trace requests since its launch on 30 January 2008, but it is estimated that more than £850million is still lying unclaimed in lost accounts. If you think you have a lost account, start your search by going online and checking out the free Mylostaccount service, which is run by the British Bankers’ Association, the Building Societies Association
Did you know?
Customers reassured on N&P’s financial strength
following organisations and request a form to be posted to you:
For banks: The British Bankers’ Association 020 7216 8909 For building societies: 020 7520 5900 For NS&I: 0845 964 5000
CSRC gets new members Two new members have joined N&P’s Customer Service Review Committee (CSRC), following the retirement of David Whiles and Simon Massen. N&P welcomes Gordon Allen (pictured right), a retired prison governor and magistrate from Boston, Lincolnshire, and David Medcalf (left), a retired commercial
lawyer from Drinkstone, near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The CSRC looks at individual complaints from members and reviews N&P’s complainthandling procedures and policies. This is just one of the ways N&P ensures that treating customers fairly is central to its corporate culture.
here were many reasons why members chose to attend N&P’s 2009 AGM, which was held at the East of England Showground in Peterborough on April 20. An Oundle branch customer, who has been a member for 12 years and was attending the AGM for the first time, said: “I study the money markets, so you could say I am a bit of an expert. I wanted to hear exactly how N&P stands financially and I was reassured by the answer I got.” This year’s meeting was attended by 70 members – double the usual number of members from previous years. Eight members asked questions on topics ranging from directors’ pay and the increase
in mortgage lending in 2008, to how many branches N&P owns as opposed to leases. Motions passed included the re-appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as auditors, the re-election of directors and the approval of the Directors’ Remuneration Policy. Customers from Diss, Norfolk, said they thought coming to the AGM was worth the two hour journey each way from their home just outside the town. One attendee from Diss said: “We’ll definitely be attending next year’s AGM in Norwich. I was particularly interested to hear how the Society is faring in the current climate. It seems we have no reason to worry at all, which is very pleasing.”
Ask Matthew... about OUR strategy We ask N&P’S chief executive Matthew Bullock the big questions, THIS TIME LOOKING AT where N&P is today and where it is going has Norwich and Peterborough Q Why recently got a new image?
The new N&P logo uses the affectionate and widely used abbreviation for Norwich and Peterborough. We are still ‘Norwich and Peterborough’ legally, but in our advertising and branches we are N&P. This reflects our network of branches across the east of England, rather than just the two cities of the Norwich and Peterborough name. The change is a visual sign for the plans we have to grow the business and the steps we’re taking to make this happen. We’re introducing a more modern branch network, designed on the back of customers’ feedback. We are also bringing in a new way of reviewing customers’ finances, using an approach called Money Roadmap. This helps people set goals specific to them that they can work towards, with expert guidance from N&P. It’s worth saying that while there are many changes, they all build on our heritage, as well as our stability and commitment to customer satisfaction; it’s more about evolution than revolution.
will the changes help to Q How improve N&P?
“We’re introducing a more modern branch network, designed on the back of customer feedback”
Research throughout 2008 told us we needed to become more relevant to more people – we needed to change what we were offering and how we were talking about it. We had to modernise, and part of this is to help customers understand the breadth of the products and services on offer from N&P. Many building societies are all about mortgages and savings, but we also provide current accounts, independent financial advice, sharedealing, insurance, personal loans and now credit cards – we’re more like a high street bank than a traditional building society. Our aim is to help customers be more on top of money – we’re actively on their side and want them to understand all the ways we can help them.
How has customer feedback and Q research shaped N&P’s plans for the future?
When we decided it was time to re-define our business plans, the first thing we did was conduct extensive research with customers and staff. To provide products with no consideration for the customer’s real needs is against everything N&P stands for – we know members don’t want this type of treatment because they told us they didn’t. We also know our members want solid support, empowering them to make the right decisions for them. That’s why we provide the tools they need to help them control their money, such as Money Reviews tailored to their individual needs. Looking after our customers’ interests is core to us continuing to grow the business.
What are N&P’s goals over the next five years?
Our main aims are to maintain our high levels of customer satisfaction and grow our customer base in the east of England. We promise to do everything in our power to make sure our customers are in control of money.
Q How financially strong is N&P?
N&P reported what could be described as acceptable profits for 2008, even after the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy charges were imposed by the Government for the failures of Bradford &
“Our aim is to help customers be on top of money” Bingley plc and certain Icelandic banks, to which N&P had no exposure. The Society is in a healthy financial position, with good liquidity, low credit losses and continued capital strength. This has allowed us to continue to invest for the longer term in giving our valued members improved branches and better web-based services.
Satisfaction action Five ways your feedback is making a better N&P
appy customers equal a better building society, so we are always working on ways to find out what you like most about our service. Your feedback continues to change how we do things at N&P – here are just five examples of changes to the way we do business that have happened because of your input: § We re-introduced a cooling-off period for bonds. This means members now have seven days to change their minds after the account is opened. “If the rate changes in between you sending us a cheque and it arriving, for example, you can decide whether to go ahead or not,” says Nigel Smith, N&P’s head of customer advocacy. § And when the investment matures, bond investors will also find that N&P explains more clearly the rates available at the time of re-investment,
“Happy customers equal a better society” and that it’s possible these rates could change. § N&P has refreshed its customer complaints procedures. Each one now goes through the same robust process. We attempt to follow up each complaint to ensure you are happy with how we have dealt with a problem. Nigel says: “This sort of feedback
Our challenge has been to make sure that the Society remains safe and profitable in the current financial difficulties, while keeping up the momentum to create a different, mutual alternative to the high street banks. We’re continuing to build a society that has enduring values and provides a personal financial service that members can trust in during these very difficult times.
is really important and invaluable in helping us maintain our high levels of satisfaction.” § You can now expect your bank statements earlier and if you want 24/7 access, take a few minutes to register for online banking. Download the form online, request in branch or call 0845 300 2511. We always want to hear your thoughts, good or bad. Let us know what you think by calling the Peterborough-based Contact Centre on 0845 300 2511, emailing emailfeedback@ nandp.co.uk or writing to Nigel Smith at Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6WZ.
Sorting out your savings
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS
MAKE A MOVE AND pocket the difference from getting a better deal
t’s easy to understand why some savers are frustrated when they see interest rates are generally lower than they were, but there are things you could do to get a better rate and without spending hours finding the best options. One of the biggest factors affecting saving rates is the Bank of England’s Bank Base Rate. In order to stimulate the economy, the Bank of England has made a series of monthly cuts to bring Base Rate down from 5% in October 2008 to just 0.5% in June 2009. Banks and building societies pay savers interest when they deposit money in their savings accounts and charge others to borrow this cash. The rate of interest they lend money at needs to be higher than the rate they offer to savers in order to stay in business. So, when mortgage rates are low, banks and building societies have to offer lower rates on savings. While savers can’t change the way the Bank of England sets interest rates, they can take action to boost their own rate. At N&P, we offer a wide range of accounts and can help find the best rate whatever your needs. Generally speaking, the sooner you can have access to your money, the less favourable the interest rate for your savings. Easy Access accounts offer lower rates, as you can withdraw cash quickly, but with the average interest rate for Easy Access accounts close to 0%, you could look for a
higher rate for your savings if you do not need quick access. Notice Accounts can provide better rates on the condition you can only get at your cash by giving an agreed number of days notice before making a withdrawal, or face penalties. If you are happy to lock your money away for between six months and five years, there are a variety of N&P Fixed Rate Bond options that will improve your savings rate.
“A free all-over ‘financial health check’ takes just 45 minutes” You can start to weigh up your saving options by browsing N&P’s website (www.nandp.co.uk/savings). Maybe your overall finances, not just your savings, need a closer look? A free all-over ‘financial health check’ with an N&P adviser takes just 45 minutes. This Money Review will tell you if you’re making the most of your money and will suggest ways to get your savings and the rest of your finances working harder.
Ask at your local N&P branch for a Money Review or call 0845 300 2511 to find out more
CASE STUDY Kenneth, (59) AND Wendy, (52) – replacing lost income following redundancy
hen Ken was made redundant from his job on the railways, he and his wife Wendy turned to N&P’s Financial Advice Service. With redundancy meaning a significant reduction in their household income, Ken and Wendy visited Roy Palmer,
when you speak to an independent financial adviser about investing decide whether you need 1 You financial advice
TOP TIPS TO GET A BETTER RATE
Take five minutes to talk to staff at your N&P branch to see if you would benefit from receiving independent financial advice. N&P’s advisers are not biased and are free to recommend the very best products on the market. Perhaps you need a plan that could deliver a better return for an extra income in the future, or a financial safety net? A savings account is a safe, steady way of growing your money, while stock-market-linked investments can offer a better return. However, their value can go down as well as up, and unless the investment includes a guarantee that protects your capital, you may not get back the full amount. A personal Money Review can also help. One N&P member who had one and then took independent advice says: “Thanks to our adviser, we’re really happy with our plans for our investment which will provide enough to give our son a nest egg.”
§ Keep an eye on your interest rate - it can change rapidly so you may not be getting such a good rate. § Put your money where it’s harder to get: with N&P’s Notice Accounts you choose 30, 90 or 120 days’ notice on withdrawals. § Put your money away for longer in a Fixed Rate Bond: choose from six months to five years. § It costs less to run online savings accounts than branch-based accounts, so you could improve your rate. § Tax erodes the return on your savings, but you can save up to £7,200 every year into a tax-free ISA, of which £3,600 can be in a Cash ISA. From 6 April 2010, you can invest up to £10,200, of which £5,100 can be in a Cash ISA.
2 You arrange a meeting
Independent Financial Adviser at N&P Immingham branch, for help in investing Ken’s payout, along with cash from a pension.
later. Ken and Wendy are happy with their investments, with the profits being put towards their income.
Replacing lost income Their main aim was to replace the lost income from Ken’s redundancy. Roy put together a diversified portfolio of incomeproducing investments and maximised their tax-free allowances through ISAs. These investments created sufficient income to cover all of the essential household bills until Ken found a new job a few months
Excellent service and no jargon Wendy said: “The service from Roy was excellent. We already had savings with N&P, so when it came to investing Ken’s redundancy money we turned to N&P. It impressed us that Roy didn’t use jargon and if we didn’t understand something he took the time to go through it again in more detail.”
If investing is right for you, it’s time to arrange a completely free initial meeting with an N&P independent financial adviser. It kicks off with them finding out about your financial circumstances, existing investments, debts, state of health, future goals and how much risk you would be comfortable with in order to aim for a return. This will take around 90 minutes ahead of a follow-up consultation.
recommend the best 3 They choices for you
Your adviser will look at the most appropriate products to manage your finances and grow your money, so you don’t have to shop around. Likely recommendations might cover a number of different areas, such as retirement planning, insuring your life and health, as well as inheritance tax planning and will writing, all depending on your individual needs and goals.
FINANCIAL ADVISER KEY FACTS § There are many different types of financial advice. N&P provides ‘whole of market’ financial advice, which means your adviser can recommend all the best available products on the market. § Tied advisers can only recommend the investments of one company, and multitied can only choose from companies their organisation has links with. § Advisers are also differentiated when it comes to how they are paid – either fees, commission, or a mix of the two. § Advisers can either be a generalist, or a specialist in a specific financial area.
“Thanks to our adviser, we’re happy with our investment plans” Your options will be explained in plain English and your adviser will go through the choices before you decide on a course of action, even if that means taking no action.
4 You decide how to pay
There are three different ways to pay for advice from an N&P adviser. You can pay us a fee directly, or indirectly through commission payments that advisers receive from companies when our customers decide to proceed. We will always be clear how much commission is due. Alternatively, you can choose to pay through a combination of fees and commission.
Get more out of your money and see a financial adviser – visit your local branch or call 0845 300 2511 The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount of your investment
N&P MAKING a DIFFERENCE
“East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices have received £10,000”
N&P SUPPORTS GOOD CAUSES ACROSS THE EAST OF ENGLAND SOMEWHERE TO CRASH
HELP FOR HOSPICES
Young people using the YMCA’s services in Bury St Edmunds have an extra bed to use, thanks to the town’s N&P branch. Branch manager Alison Haddow presented the YMCA’s Lynne King with the extra bedding for the charity to put to good use in its ‘crash pad’ for young people.
For each of the first 20,000 voting forms received ahead of N&P’s 2009 AGM, 50p has been donated to charity. East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) have received £10,000 as a result of member votes. Thank you to all who voted.
n&P HELPS FERTILE MINDS GROW IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE A cash donation from N&P has helped pay for a new farm shop and classroom facility at the Red2Greenhouse horticultural project in Bottisham, Cambridgeshire. The project was the brainchild of Cambridgeshire charity Red2Green and is designed to provide work and educational opportunities to adults with disabilities and youngsters struggling to achieve. Sharon Parkinson, manager of the St Andrews Street branch, Cambridge, is pictured above with support worker Rosemary Moulding and manager Rachel Newell in front of the farm shop.
Sensational donation By SOciety Brushes up nicely Patients at Lakelands Day Care Hospice in Corby are getting creative after N&P Kettering branch manager Katie Rock (pictured above) handed over a donation of paints, pencils, crayons, art paper and specially adapted brushes.
N&P’s Lincoln branch manager Heather Mann presented a ‘dark den’ to the charity Action for Children (pictured above). The den is a small, dark tent inside which the children can attach different lights, helping to sharpen their senses. Lorraine McCall, early years co-ordinator for Action for Children, is pictured with Heather, Maisie (six months) and Jo (two).
Useful information Principal office
Peterborough Business Park Lynch Wood Peterborough PE2 6WZ Tel: 01733 372372 Email: email@example.com
Contact Centre (Peterborough) 0845 300 2511 Textphone for hard of hearing 0845 121 9921
Contact Centre opening hours Monday–Friday 8am–8pm Saturday 9am–5pm
Lost/stolen cards 01733 372374
Insurance claims lines
Household & Coverguard 01603 420090 Homeguard 0800 056 0014 Motor 01603 420090
Calls to 0845 numbers could cost up to 7p a minute depending on your provider. Norwich and Peterborough Building Society is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. N&P provides financial advice on regulated and non-regulated products. Principal Office: Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6WZ. MKT83R. 195m/06/Wordwide