HSBC plans to become a dementia-friendly bank

HSBC UK has committed to raise £3 million for Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland during three year partnership.

HSBC UK has today announced a number of initiatives aimed at supporting people affected by dementia. This includes an extension of the three year partnership with Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland across HSBC UK, ‘Dementia Friends’ information sessions for staff, and the launch of an advice guide that helps customers living with dementia, and those who support them, handle their finances.  Throughout the three year partnership with, HSBC UK has also committed to raising £3 million.

There are currently around 850, 000 people in the UK with dementia. By 2021, it is estimated that 1 million people will be living with the condition. Common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, problems communicating and difficulty processing information and planning, which can make financial management challenging. Find out more about dementia here.

To help support people with the condition, HSBC UK staff will be receiving Dementia Friends information sessions, learning more about dementia and the small ways they can help. From telling friends about Dementia Friends to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every small step can make a difference. 

Already 12,000 HSBC colleagues have joined the UK’s biggest ever initiative brought about by Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland, to change people’s perceptions of dementia. In addition to becoming Dementia Friends, HSBC is also working to improve products, services and premises, as well as improving the website to ensure it is accessible for those living with dementia.

The launch of the ‘Managing your money with dementia’ guide aims to make it easier for customers living with the disease to look after their financial affairs. It was developed in tandem with Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland and uses feedback from focus groups of people living with dementia and their carers to identify some of the key challenges faced when it comes to financial management. The guide is currently being piloted 10 in branches with the aim of being rolled out nationwide.

How financial institutions can be dementia-friendly

The guide includes advice on keeping track of spending, protecting against fraud and how to enable others to support customers with their finances. Tips include:

  • Keep track of spending – To keep on top of your expenditure, keep a written record of what is spent and retain receipts for all transactions. Make sure to regularly check statements too.
  • Make regular payments – via Standing Orders and Direct Debits to help ensure payments are made on time and made for the correct amount.
  • Use Chip and Signature Cards - Chip and signature cards can be useful for those who have difficulty remembering their PIN. Unlike debit or credit cards, there is no need to enter a PIN provided there is a signature to make a purchase.
  • Enable others to help support with finances - Ensure the right access is set up for getting assistance. For example, a Third Party Mandate or Ordinary Power of Attorney won’t be suitable when someone has already lost mental capacity.

HSBC is also part of the ‘Safe Places’ scheme. The scheme, which was rolled out initially in Leeds, enables HSBC branches to offer a safe haven for vulnerable people in the community, should they need to seek support.

Francesca McDonagh, Head of Wealth and Retail Bank at HSBC UK said: “We understand that being able to manage finances independently is key for helping people living with dementia retain some control over their life. The launch of our voice recognition technology last year - whereby customers can simply use their voice as their password, rather than having to remember a pin - is just one example of the ways we are ensuring our banking experience is simpler to use and accessible to everyone.   Through this partnership, training of our staff, the launch of the guide and the ‘Dementia Friends’ information sessions,  we hope to provide even more support to help people living with dementia feel assured that they are banking within a trusted environment.”

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Society, commented: “Visiting a bank branch can be an overwhelming task for a person with dementia. What many take for granted as easy, everyday banking tasks like, remembering a PIN or other personal information, can suddenly become an unexpected challenge. Through this partnership with HSBC, we hope to create a space where those affected by dementia feel supported and treated as equal members of society.”

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