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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Age friendly banking has some way to go before it become a reality


Well done Age UK for it efforts to promote age friendly banking.

A term they define as : "services, products and facilities that remain accessible and easy-to-use as people age, assist caregivers and prevent financial exploitation."

That's not a bad definition.

You can download the results of their investigation here.

I certainly agree with the statement that: "If a bank can provide good service for its oldest customers, it can provide excellent service for all."

So far so good.

My criticism start at the emphasis on the privacy and security issues. The research contains thirteen case studies. Five are about how banks are responding to the deluge of scams that we all receive.

Obviously, this is an important issue but I wish there was more attention given to how banks are responding to the physiological changes taking place to so many of their customers. The report has some mention of this but you get the feeling that it comes a long way down the list of priorities. That is wrong.

I had to smile at one of the case studies about Santander and its efforts to help vulnerable customers by providing its staff with awareness training. I quote:

Santander undertook a bank-wide review of its processes, policies and practises using the guidance documents published by the FCA and BBA, to make sure it was treating vulnerable customers appropriately, with empathy and understanding. This work is on-going and by listening to customer feedback Santander is continually improving its approach.

Having recently been involved in helping a neighbour who has some account issues with the bank, all I can say is that the awareness course hasn't taken place in my part of the world or if it has it has been swiftly forgotten. The bank was about as sensitive as granite.

Looking through the case studies I wondered how many were vapourware or if they were becoming part of the woodwork of how banks operate. I fear most are nice ideas and projects rather than fundamentally changing how the banks work.

 The AF Brands app could be easily modified for the financial services sector and that would provide the detailed metrics that is required if organisations are really to embrace the concept of becoming age friendly. Dick Stroud


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