$5 million partnership improves access to regional banking services

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Financial mentors and banks work together to help people in small communities in New Zealand access banking services. These “banking collaborations” are one of many projects carried out under a partnership between FinCap and the New Zealand Bankers’ Association, which is funded by NZBA members to the tune of $5 million over five years. The partnership aims to make a real difference for financial mentors and their clients.

Banking collaborations are happening in places ranging from Kawakawa in the Far North to Balclutha in Otago. They are designed by local financial mentoring services to meet the needs of people in their communities. These local initiatives help people bank online and offer broader training sessions. In some cases, financial mentors also help people by taking them to a local bank branch.

Wuki Beazley, financial mentor and community educator at the Bay of Islands Budgeting and Community Services Trust, says funding from the partnership means they are able to help clients of all ages. “An elderly woman who has been using online banking for some time drove another 35 minutes to her local branch because she could not download bank statements. She can do it herself now, saving money and one less problem to stress about.

“We also helped rangatahi aged 13 to 15 to open bank accounts and set up online banking. This process is intimidating for them as they don’t understand banking processes, have no transportation to the bank and no devices. Having the ability to sustain these rangatahi has been rewarding for all of us.

With funding from the partnership, the Anglican Care Center in Whangārei is running a series of high-tech courses. Center administrator Nikki Smith says they saw a need to provide hands-on support for older clients. “They were having trouble answering their phones and responding to text messages. When younger kids tried to show them how to use their phones, they went too fast or seniors forgot what they were shown.

“So far, we have organized four courses of three days each, attended by around 28 people. The course covers the basics of technology as well as the use of online and telephone banking.

“There was a lot of laughs and people telling us how good it went and how much they learned – and they keep telling their friends to keep the list going. lengthen. Plus, a customer now knows that if your tablet is hot, don’t put it in the fridge!

In addition to banking collaborations provided by financial mentors across New Zealand, other projects funded by the partnership include:

Development Iwi and Pasifika: connecting financial mentoring services to Iwi and Pasifika people to help build financial capability for people in financial difficulty.

A day in the life: Decision makers from a variety of industries spend time with a financial mentor as they work with clients to better understand issues and services offered.

Workforce Development: Implement better resources and training for financial mentors to help them help vulnerable customers access banking and other services.

Data and information:
Collect anonymous customer information to develop insights into debt management and spending behavior before and after budget intervention.

FinCap’s Managing Director, Ruth Smithers, says, “Financial mentors work with people facing very difficult financial challenges. This sometimes leads to difficult interactions with banks. This partnership shows the benefits for banks and financial mentors to work together to support good results for everyone involved. »

New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Roger Beaumont said: “We are delighted that our members have supported this $5 million investment in financial mentoring to deliver real benefits to those in need. Banking collaborations in particular are delivering tangible results and align well with our recently expanded trial of regional banking hubs that we are conducting with our six largest member banks.

ENDS

Media contacts:

NZBA: Philip van Dyk, 021 242 0428

FinCap: Saara Blom, 027 225 4222

Philip van Dyk, Communications Director,

New Zealand Bankers Association

+64 21 242 0428

[email protected]

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