Halifax and Bank of Scotland have received accolades after improving their support measures in place for customers with mental health issues.
They have been awarded “mental health accessible” accreditation, following the recognition of Lloyds Bank in 2020, which is part of the same banking group.
The banks have been awarded an “essentials” rating by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute – the first of three levels which firms can achieve in the mental health accessible programme. They have also committed to taking further action.
Steps the banks have taken include making their communications to customers with debt problems more empathetic and offering customers trusted person cards, through which they can allow a third party to withdraw cash and make purchases on their behalf in a secure way.
Money and Mental Health’s programme supports essential services providers – such as banks, energy or broadband suppliers and water companies – to better understand and address the challenges that customers with mental health problems face using their services.
It’s more important than ever that everyone can access the services that we all rely on
Helen Undy, Money and Mental Health
It created the programme after research showing that more than half of people with mental health problems face serious difficulties using the phone to carry out essential admin.
Helen Undy, chief executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which was set up by consumer champion Martin Lewis said: “It’s a big achievement to receive the ‘essentials’ level of our accreditation – but now we want to work with both banks to make further improvements that will ease the strain for vulnerable customers using their services.
“We’re also urging other businesses to work with us to ensure their services are as accessible as possible.
“With more people facing financial worries as the furlough scheme ends, and rates of depression having increased during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that everyone can access the services that we all rely on.”
Fiona Cannon, group sustainable business director for Lloyds Banking Group, said: “As we continue to play our part in helping Britain recover it is important that we continue our work to be a more inclusive organisation.
“The mental health accessible accreditation demonstrates our continued commitment to raising mental health awareness and has enabled us to drive improvements that better support all our customers.”