Customers of The Co-operative may soon be able to access legal advice in their bank branch if a new pilot scheme proves to be a hit.
The initiative is being pioneered by The Co-operative Legal Services (CLS), which has teamed up with its sister organisation, The Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), in order to assess how legal advice can be delivered through selected Britannia branches.
Three Bristol-based branches are taking part in the pilot scheme over the next two weeks and will offer free legal advice to consumers who 'drop-in' and to those who want an appointment.
The results of the scheme will be used to determine if legal help could be rolled out across the entire Co-operative and Britannia network, which extends to 350 branches.
"Later this year the Legal Services Act will radically change the way in which solicitor services are delivered in England and Wales," said Eddie Ryan, managing director of Co-operative Financial Services.
"The shake-up that the new Act offers is absolutely necessary if legal services are to become more accessible to customers. Many people feel that solicitors communicate with them poorly, use jargon that is confusing and don't understand how services are priced."
Rod Bulmer, managing director, retail, at Co-operative Financial Services, added: "There are nearly 350 branches of Britannia and The Co-operative Bank across the UK, so this pilot scheme will enable us to assess how legal services can be delivered on the high street.
"If successful, there is clearly great potential to bring these services under one roof."
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