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Transparent & Respectful Communications

Background and Context

What we heard

Stakeholders have highlighted to us that there is a need for the sector to communicate with all customers – both profitable and less so, (particularly for customers in arrears or who may be in a vulnerable position), with greater respect and transparency. Respectful and transparent customer communication has been identified as a key requirement in rebuilding trust in member banks. There should be less jargon in documentation but also transparency when things go wrong. Customers expect to communicate with someone knowledgeable, who takes ownership for issues and deals with them in a straightforward and honest manner.

What we did

This is an ongoing area of focus for the IBCB and our member banks to consider how to address this need. Member banks are working with the IBCB to specifically look at how they communicate with customers in letters, looking to enhance customer letters to make them more personal, to ensure they are written in plain English and to explain necessary technical terms. Our member banks are working through their plans internally to determine how they can implement these changes. These changes can be applied to new letters without many difficulties. It is more complex to update pre-existing letters or templates, as many of these are generated by a number of IT systems at a particular point in a customer’s journey. This requires updates to impacted IT systems, which will take some time to address. We will be monitoring progress in this regard on an ongoing basis and will continue to work with our member banks and stakeholders to identify other initiatives to improve communications with customers.

The IBCB is committed to using transparent and respectful communications. To support this the IBCB are members of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and in February 2022 the IBCB team undertook NALA’s Plain English training and have been incorporating the learnings into our communications since then.

The team also received training from Employers for Change to gain a better understanding on how to create an inclusive communications policy for people living with a disability.