Last week, our Vulnerable Customers team hosted an evening of talks and workshops looking at the question of how we can best identify and support people in the Monzo community who, for whatever reason, might need extra help with their finances.
After an intro by @lewmonzo from our Vulnerable Customers team (0:42), Chris Fitch from the Money Advice Trust gave a great talk (10:17) about how important, and how hard it is, to listen and look for the right signals. Having a pre-existing idea of what kind of information you’re looking for means you might miss other very obvious signs (13:26). He highlighted (10:45) how vulnerability is not a quality that some people possess; it’s a situation that anyone can be in, and likely will be in, at some point in their lives. He also asked us to think about the process of disclosure: what a sensitive one it is, and what the stakes are in handling it properly (20:58).
Max Mawby followed up with a wonderful talk (32:41) about how behavioural psychology can inform innovation in the way banks communicate with vulnerable customers. Diving into some of the research that informs and is carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team (founded in 2010 as part of the Cabinet Office), he discussed findings like how sending a sympathetic, handwritten letter can help individuals in debt to feel that it’s possible to approach their bank for help (41:09). He also highlighted the power of encouragement from our social networks to help us save (45:51).
Catch up on the livestream here:
We then broke out into workshops, focussing on the following questions:
– How can we identify vulnerable customers earlier?
– When and how should we step in to help?
– What should we do when someone discloses their circumstances?
We’re going to be writing up a report that talks about what we’ve learned from this event and the work we’ve done here, and we’d love your thoughts on how to understand this problem. We hope that by collecting and sharing this knowledge, we can lay the foundations for change across the banking industry.
What do you all think? Maybe you have experience working with people in financial difficulty –– maybe you’ve needed that extra help yourself. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the questions above.