For NatWest Group, supporting financial capability goes beyond delivering fair products and great service. It also means helping our customers, wider society and future generations to develop good money management skills, so they are empowered to make better financial decisions. As part of the bank’s new purpose and strategy, we have committed to improving the financial health of 2.5 million people each year through financial capability interactions, and helping 2 million additional customers to start saving by 2023.
Supporting young people
Now in its 25th year, MoneySense, our flagship financial education programme for young people, has helped over 8.7 million 5-18 year olds learn about money, both in the classroom and at home. MoneySense resources are used in one in three schools across the UK, and in 2019 our employees helped over 90,000 young people learn about money through our MoneySense volunteer workshops.
Empowering customers to make money work smarter
In 2019, we helped over 1 million customers (*) organise their finances, achieve their goals and make more of important life moments through a free, personalised, one-to-one Financial Health Check. From suggesting some easy ways to stay on top of day-to-day spending, to recommending simple ideas to build up savings, the Financial Health Check is designed to put customers in control and make money work smarter.
Helping customers protect their money
Our fundamental purpose is to keep our customers’ money safe and secure. We are investing £100 million over three years to combat fraud and ensure we remain up-to-date with the latest fraud trends. We use sophisticated technical profiling systems that measure biometric behaviours, location, device, payment amount and payment risk to help us identify suspicious activity, and during 2019, we delivered the following initiatives to help customers protect themselves from fraud and scams:
- Over 200,000 consumers and colleagues have completed Friends Against Scams training or a fraud awareness workshop in school through the bank.
- Our team of 98 Community Bankers work with local organisations such as Age UK, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice and local police representatives to provide face-to-face support for our customers and local communities. They deliver financial education events including on digital safety, Friends Against Scams and fraud awareness.
- Our Customer Protection Managers also help protect customers from financial harm. Their role is to help safeguard customers and to liaise with external organisations like the police, where necessary, to help keep customers and their money safe. We are the only bank to have this unique role.
- We actively support and fund the UK Finance Take Five campaign through awareness events in our branches, providing guidance over the telephone and ensuring our social media accounts and websites actively promote key messages.
Preventing financial difficulties
We know that things don’t always go to plan, and where possible we offer support to customers before they get into financial difficulties.
Royal Bank of Scotland was proud to be a 2019 headline sponsor for the Money Advice Scotland annual conference. This event plays a vital role in helping the debt advice sector address issues such as financial capability and inclusion and discuss emerging issues in debt advice.
In addition to the help and assistance provided earlier in the customer journey we also have a pre arrears contact strategy. Where we proactively contact customers (and assist those who contact us) providing support and guidance on budgeting and signposting free debt advice, helping to prevent these customers falling into financial difficulty.
In 2019 we sent over 65,000 letters and had over 79,000 conversations with customers helping to prevent them falling into financial difficulty.
Dealing with difficulties
NatWest Group is committed to supporting customers in financial difficulty and in 2019 we have helped 646,000 customers to find solutions for their financial difficulties. Our dedicated team take time to understand each customers’ situation, working closely with independent free debt advice and charity partners to support and refer customers who need specialist support.
We continue to look at innovating and improving the ways our customers can interact with us, making it easier for them to get the support they need. In 2019 we:
- Enhanced our webpages for those who are struggling financially, making it easier for our customers to seek support.
- Introduced self-referrals via the website and digital referrals by CORA (our AI chatbot) to PayPlan our free debt advice partner.
- Introduced an online automated income and expenditure solution, which uses credit reference agency and online banking data.
- Enhanced our self-service payments options for customers calling telephone banking, so they don’t have to wait and speak to a colleague.
- Continued to develop and enhance the capability of colleagues by commencing plans to provide specialist vulnerable training for over 700 frontline debt management colleagues.
(*) Limited assurance provided by Ernst & Young LLP.