This guest blog was contributed by Steven Cooper, Chief Executive, Personal Banking, Barclays UK.
With over 10 million people in the UK over 65 and 850,000 people living with dementia, this is a crucial question, and one posed by the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing at their conference and symposium on 3 and 4 February.
Barclays was very pleased to sponsor this conference and play an active part in the discussions. Older people provide huge benefits to our society and economy, caring for children and volunteering their time. As one of the largest banks in the UK we have a diverse customer base and older customers make up a significant proportion- around a quarter of our current accounts are held by someone over 60.
At the conference, we debated several key areas, including the role of technology and digital innovation, how to protect older customers and those with conditions like dementia, and how cognitive decline might impact on a customer’s ability to manage their finances.
At Barclays we have already made great strides to harness technology alongside a human touch in order to better support older customers and those with cognitive decline – it’s all about delivering smarter human banking for these customers.
We have delivered high-visibility debit cards, talking ATMs and have a dedicated team managing Power of Attorney issues. Many of our counters are now wheelchair accessible, we have hearing loops available in our branches and lowered our ATMs. As part of our commitment to making it easy for all of our customers to bank with us, in 2014 we became the first to bank to introduce video banking – a face-to-face service enabling customers to carry out their banking wherever they are.
We also help our colleagues to understand the challenges our customers face through our Community Driving Licence online training tool. This modular online training platform aims to improve colleagues’ understanding of the challenges our customers face and encourages colleagues to run activities within their local community. Over 13,000 colleagues are working through the Community Driving Licence and they have delivered over 50 carers forums and 250 fraud and scams sessions.
We also know we have a key role educating and protecting the public from fraud, scams and abuse. Last month we launched a TV advertising campaign to warn customers about scams and help them avoid becoming a victim.
As an industry we are seeing huge growth in online and digital banking and at Barclays we are working to help older customers embrace the opportunities of the digital revolution. We have over 15,000 Digital Eagles trained to provide free technology advice- over 5,000 ‘tea and teach’ digital skills training sessions have been delivered so far. We also now have a group of silver eagles; older people keen to help other members of their community to benefit from digital skills.
At Barclays we will continue to reflect on the debates at the conference and consider what more we could do to help our older customers.
Find out more about the event, including presentations, post-event information and the symposium report at www.ageuk.org.uk/global-ageing