Customers in vulnerable situations
At any time, a customer may find themselves either in a vulnerable situation or caring for a loved one experiencing a vulnerability. The continuing impact of COVID-19 has meant that for many of our customers this has been a reality in 2021. Our dedicated customer care line, which was set up as a result of the pandemic, has helped and supported 527,123 people in 2021.
Banking My Way
Our support service ‘Banking My Way’ continues to develop. Customers can now tell us via the mobile app about reasonable adjustments we can make to help them. Customers can also alert us to such adjustments in our branches, via our telephony teams and online. So far, over 75,000 people have registered for Banking My Way.
Dealing with financial difficulties
In 2021, we continued to work with organisations such as GamCare and the Money Advice Trust to improve the support available to vulnerable customers, connecting them to expert advice where appropriate.
We continued to run digital lessons and fraud and scam awareness events remotely via virtual delivery. Moreover, we significantly expanded our successful referral programme with Citizens Advice, connecting customers to their advisers where we identify additional advice or vulnerability needs.
In February 2021, with the domestic abuse charity SafeLives, we launched The Circle Fund. The Circle Fund, available for three years, supports SafeLives to provide small grants to help economic abuse victims and survivors to regain financial confidence and control. This follows from our announcement to donate £1 million for the fund in 2020.
To help our colleagues become more informed and better support the accessibility needs of our digital customers, we have created a digital mastery video as well as an accessibility knowledge base where colleagues can become more familiar with accessibility tools such as Microsoft Edge’s read-aloud and translation functionality.