Thursday 12 January 2017

Barclays To Offer Its Extended Support For Mentally Ill Or Financially Vulnerable People


Barclays is training staff to identify the telltale signs of financial abuse and mental illness, in an attempt to offer greater support to customers struggling to cope financially, or being manipulated over money.

As part of the scheme - currently being piloted in Manchester - staff will be able to reject transactions or even contact adult social services, if a customer displays warning signs such as forgetfulness or confusion whilst performing a transaction.

The high street bank said the scheme would offer greater "support" to customers, whilst "empowering colleagues" to provide the right protection and support when a customer needs it most.

Typically, victims of financial abuse might suddenly withdraw large amounts of cash, appear nervous in branch, or struggle to answer questions over the phone.

If a customer is suffering from a mental illness, they may display a lack of ability to concentrate or ongoing confusion.

If a concern is raised, staff may take customers into a private room to discuss transactions or arrange a visit if they have been communicating over the phone.

They may then decline the customer's requests and pass their details to social services if they believe they need more help.

The trial is currently running in three Manchester branches and will run for eight weeks. If successful, it could be rolled out nationally.

Elaine Draper, Director of Accessibility and Inclusion at Barclays, said: "We’ve worked with Manchester City Council to help our colleagues identify when it’s appropriate to engage emergency services, Adult Social Care or other third sector agencies.

"This has been hugely valuable as our front-line colleagues can often be faced with difficult situations where they are worried about a customer’s wellbeing, perhaps because of financial abuse concerns or a decline in mental capacity.

"Knowing where to turn to make sure the customer is supported is going to make a real difference and empower colleagues to provide the right protection and support when a customer needs it most."

In November, an investigation into bank closures found vulnerable customers are being let down by banks shutting down with little notice - leaving customers - mostly the elderly - in the dark.

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) said by the end of 2017, all banks in Britain will have specially trained staff on hand to offer more help to vulnerable customers when a closure has been announced.

Teams will be on hand to discuss alternative banking methods and work more proactively with elderly and vulnerable customers to ensure they are aware of all options on offer.



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