The Cumberland is to embark on a major investment in its digital infrastructure to ensure customers have more choice, according to its annual report.

The building society says it has delivered ‘a robust financial performance’ over the past 12 months with increased profits despite the challenges of supporting staff and customers through the pandemic.

But now The Cumberland says it will need to focus on its development plans which will see major investment across the business.

Chief executive Des Moore says in the report: “It is time for the Society to begin the process of building a sustainable digital infrastructure, the importance of which the pandemic has truly brought to the fore.

“Not only will this digital strategy increase choice for our customers, enabling them to decide how they want to interact with us – online, by phone or in branch – it will also create a Society of the future, one that meets the needs and expectations of our customers, regardless of age or location.”

The annual report details The Cumberland’s ‘robust financial performance’ which saw pre-tax profits rise to £10.5m (2020: £8.3m). It also details how over 10 per cent of mortgage customers took a payment holiday with many of those 2,000 residential customers also needing additional overdrafts and mortgage offer extensions. And more than 1,000 business also took the option of a payment holiday, accounting for over £250 million of mortgages across the hospitality, tourism and holiday let sectors.

The Cumberland also helped 55 charities and community projects with £198,000 worth of donations during the last 12 months.

The pandemic also led to a rapid rise in deposits and savings as well as an increasing demand for mortgages through the year. The building society now provides almost £2.2bn worth of mortgages.

The year was also notable for The Cumberland achieving a Platinum Trusted Service Award with Feefo on back of feedback from customers and it also celebrated getting a one-star accreditation with Best Companies.

The Cumberland’s chairman, John Hooper writes in the report: “I am humbled by the resilience and dedication our loyal colleagues have shown over the past 12 months. It has reinforced our belief that we have a unique team of great people who are committed to doing the right thing. Collectively, they have gone to extraordinary efforts to support our customers while ensuring the health and safety of all.”