South West Mutual has been formed to establish the first-ever member-owned mutual high street bank dedicated to offering finance to the residents and small businesses of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. The bank will offer current accounts, savings, overdrafts, unsecured and secured term loans and mortgages with a multi-channel distribution strategy and branch network comprising of staffed and automated branches, alongside internet and mobile banking.
Offering modern banking, with an ethical focus and bringing branches back to the South West highstreet requires authorisation by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority. So, as part of the regulatory business plan, South West Mutual needed to show it had a sustainable business model and approached Turquoise Thinking to conduct primary research with potential customers.
South West Mutual commissioned Turquoise to get under the skin of how our proposed target market would react to the new bank’s proposition. We were all really impressed with the final report, how Turquoise totally understood our brief and our proposition and translated this into a really valuable and insightful piece of research. It was completed within our time and budget constraints and so in time we’d like to return for follow-on work.
– Darren Arulvasagam, Head of Strategy & Partnerships
Depth interviews were conducted with a range of people across four of the personas previously defined by the bank. Each interview was between 45-60 minutes in duration and enabled Turquoise senior researchers to explore the accuracy of the persona work and to probe deeper to discover what features each persona would be attracted to in the South West Mutual proposition. It was also an opportunity to assess any potential obstacles or barriers to switching bank accounts, motivations to switch brands, levels of trust generated by bank branches, and ideas on what a branch should look like. The sample was taken from across the South West in rural areas where the local towns had lost their high street banks e.g. Tintagel, Okehampton, Bodmin, Camelford, Burnham, Wellington, Weston-Super-Mare.
Turquoise was able to provide South West Mutual with a set of actionable insights particular to each of the personas studied relating to views on bank account fees, the value of the ethical/human-focused/branch orientated/locally orientated etc. There were a number of areas where the need for more education on the proposition was highlighted for certain groups, and there was some extremely positive sentiment from certain audience segments who were very much on board and highly likely to switch based on the combination of the access to branches with a human focus and the local, customer-led, customer-centric mutual element.
We’re really looking forward to supporting this fantastic initiative with any future financial market research requirements and wish South West Mutual every success with their venture.