- The need for the sector to treat all customers – both profitable and less so, those in arrears or part of vulnerable groups with Respect. Examples included the means of communicating with customers – for example the tone, and frequency of letters to those in financial difficulties was raised a number of times; as were the number of phone calls required to get through to someone who could assist with an arrears issue; or customers in distress – post a bereavement for example having to repeat their query multiple times on a phone line;
- We heard about the need to consider marginalised or vulnerable customers and those in rural communities impacted by the evolution of the banking model – particularly via the move to digitalisation;
- The need for the sector to support financial education amongst their customers was mentioned frequently, including ‘just in time’ education prior to making significant financial decisions;
- The need for more transparent communications, less jargon in documentation but also transparency when things go wrong – it was generally accepted that mistakes happen but what is key is that when they do happen, they are quickly acknowledged, steps to resolve are clearly communicated and progress is explained;
- Finally, we heard about the need to consider the requirements of smaller business impacted by the move to less face to face banking – particularly SMEs and farmers.
Much of this feedback is quoted verbatim in the Consultation report we have published. This makes sobering reading for the banking sector and points to the long road ahead to restore trust. However, it was important and necessary for the sector to ask for, and to listen to, these views – to hold the mirror up and to be prepared to act on what it reflects. 6 of the themes identified in the Public & Stakeholder Consultation Report are priorities within the IBCB’s year one Work Programme