Bank staff receive ‘sensitivity’ training before calling Covid debts
Bank staff are undergoing ‘sensitivity’ training to avoid adding additional pressure to the UK mental health crisis as they prepare to call loans issued during the pandemic.
Hundreds of workers at major banks, including HSBC, NatWest and Metro Bank, are expected to receive training on how to deal with vulnerable customers and ’empathize’ as the first wave of coronavirus loan repayments expires.
HSBC, which now has 400 employees in its debt collection team, said the goal was to ensure staff had a “consistent understanding of vulnerability” and are “aware of the factors that could make a person vulnerable. During refund conversations with customers.
An executive at another bank said his extended debt collection team was trained in “empathy, vulnerability and listening.” The person said, “At the end of the day, we don’t want to hurt the economy by being too aggressive.”
Since the start of the pandemic, banks have lent more than £ 75 billion to cash-strapped businesses under emergency aid programs, interest-free for one year and supported by the taxpayer. It is up to the banks that have made the loans to drive off the debts on behalf of the government.
However, it has raised concerns among bankers that having to aggressively ask for money from struggling entrepreneurs means the industry will be seen as the villain of another economic crisis.
Stephen Jones, the former Managing Director of UK Finance, said last May: “The banking industry is the collection agency and unfortunately I’m afraid we’ll be the bad guys again when the money turns out. cannot be refunded. “
There are also concerns that some companies have mistakenly assumed that the emergency loans were in fact grants that would never have to be repaid.
Teaching debt repayers how to better deal with vulnerable clients comes as charities and psychiatrists warn the pandemic could trigger an unprecedented mental health crisis.