New Extra Help Hub for vulnerable customers and their families and carers launched byBank of Ireland

  • The Hub will act as a ‘where to next?’ on managing financial affairs for people and families in challenging circumstances
  • Bank’s Vulnerable Customer Unit has handled 30,000 cases since 2019
  • 75% of calls relate to three areas: financial abuse, power of attorney, and support for those who have lost decision making capacity
  • Bank has partnered with clinical psychologist Dr David Coleman on the Extra Help Hub to offeradvice on how to deal with these challenging transitions within families and the practical steps to take

Bank of Ireland has launched a new resource – the Extra Help Hub – to provide a range of additional supports for customers, families and carers.  Insights gathered from over 30,000 contacts from customers, carers and advocacy groups to the Bank’s Vulnerable Customer Unit have been used to design the hub and inform the services and resources that customers need most.

New Extra Help Hub for vulnerable customers and their families and carers launched byBank of Ireland
Aine McCleary, Chief Customer Officer, Bank of Ireland, Dr David Coleman, Clinical Psychologist, Ross Moore, Head of the Vulnerable Customer Unit, Bank of Ireland

The Bank of Ireland Extra Help Hub features resources and practical information around areas including financial abuse, dementia or incapacity, and advice on power of attorney/the Assisted Decision Making Act (ADMA), and related arrangements regarding a person’s finances.  The information available on the hub on Bank of Ireland’s website will include links to forms and official documents, instructions on how to resolve a number of common issues and ways to access supports from specially trained colleagues in the Bank.

On an ongoing basis, the Bank’s Vulnerable Customer Unit supports families, carers and support workers, and those supporting international applicants, domestic violence shelters, the Irish Probation Service and TUSLA.  The Bank has partnered with advocacy groups including Dementia Ireland, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, and the HSE National Safeguarding Office to aggregate the most important information that their service users need to manage their financial affairs.

Rob O’Connor, HSE National Safeguarding Office, said:“In 2022 we handled over 13,700 reports of safeguarding concerns from the general public an 18% increase on the previous year.   Banks naturally play a critical role in helping to put in place the often urgent supports people need to keep their finances safe at these challenging times.   Services like the Bank of Ireland Vulnerable Customer Unit and resources available on the Extra Help Hub are a practical support to the work that we do in assisting our callers to the service”.

Aine McCleary, Group Chief Customer Officer, Bank of Ireland said:“Providing the supports and education that our customers need to protect their financial wellbeing at all stages of their lives is central to everything we do at Bank of Ireland.  This is especially important when they face a serious challenge or vulnerability and need extra support from their bank. 

“Our Vulnerable Customer Unit offers support in many different circumstances, from the day to day issues that our customers, their families or carers encounter, to the very urgent – like fast-tracking protections on a customer’s account where financial abuse is suspected.

“Loss of, or limited capacity can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons.  A change in the family dynamic is particularly challenging at this sensitive time. These conversations are not always easy to have but are essential, to ensure that the practical necessities like banking can be handled seamlessly by a family member or trusted carer, when a customer may not be in a position to do so themselves.

“The Extra Help Hub has taken the learnings and experience of 30,000 engagements with vulnerable customers over the past four years and translated it into valuable and relevant online advice and guidance to assist our customers, their families or their carers when they need us most.”

Dr David Coleman, Clinical Psychologistand contributor to the Extra Help Hub offersadvice on how to deal with the challenging transitions and practical steps to take

“Family life is rarely straightforward. There are always changes and challenges along the way. Things like accidents, infirmity, dementia, and sudden strokes can significantly impact both the person and their family as many adjustments may need to occur. Death, too, sends shockwaves through a family and the loss can be profound.

“Any of these situations may affect our family finances with significant extra costs incurred, or may impact the persons capacity to manage their own finances, in the short term, or even longer term bringing new responsibility for those finances to their loved ones or carers.

“Having clear information, and a reliable source of advice and guidance can be invaluable, both to ensure things are done correctly and in line with the regulations and the law, but also as a reassurance and a source of support to take some of the pressure off families who may dealing with their own traumas or distresses associated with the circumstances that led to the financial affairs being changed in the first place.”

The Extra Help Hub is part of  Bank of Ireland’s Financial Wellbeing Programme. 

Bank of Ireland Extra Help Hub includes six chapters and 19 content sections, each of which follows a standard principle of:

  1. What the customer, their family or carer needs to do in advance and how to contact us
  2. What we will do to complete the customer’s request
  3. What the outcome will be and how we will tell the customer
Financial InclusionHow to open a Basic Bank Account
Refugees & Asylum Seekers (International Protection Applicants)
Gender Recognition
Language Supports
Supporting the CarerFair Deal Scheme
Bereavement Supports
Vulnerable Customer Account & Carer Card
Coping with Loss
Supporting Everyday BankingMoving to Bank of Ireland
Online & Mobile Banking Video Supports
Cost of Living Supports
Accessibility & AssistanceAccessibility Supports
How to register an Assisted Decision Making Agreement
How to register a Power of Attorney Agreement
Supporting the VulnerableFinancial Abuse, Coercive Control & Modern Slavery
Fraud Security Supports
How to safeguard your finances
Supporting Financial Confidence for Older PersonsFinancial Confidence for Older Persons
Inclusion & DiversityInclusion & Diversity in Bank of Ireland

Source of research:

HSE National Safeguarding survey, 2022

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