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Irish banks and bereaved customers

  • 21/10/2019
  • Author:bridgetmccall

Common commitment by Irish Banking Culture Board members to help customers who have lost loved ones

Man and woman at desk with documents

The Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) has brought its five member banks together to establish a common commitment of care for bereaved customers.

All five IBCB member banks - Allied Irish Banks (AIB), Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank - have signed up to the commitment.

Collectively, these five banks assist around 50,000 bereaved customers per year, making this an issue affecting thousands of people and their families every year.

Commitment of care

The commitment of care includes:

  • A dedicated phone line in each bank for bereaved customers
  • Access to any available funds of the deceased to cover the cost of the funeral
  • Using plain English, making information on services available easily accessible and suppressing marketing materials addressed to the deceased as quickly as possible.

The banks will review their processes for dealing with bereaved customers on an ongoing basis to ensure they are offering the best service to customers when they have had a bereavement.

Dealing with banks after a bereavement is difficult

Through the extensive consultation process the IBCB did with both the public and bank stakeholders, they found that dealing with banks after the loss of a loved one was a major source of stress and anxiety for many, at what is an already extremely difficult time.

Comment from Chair of the Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB)

Chair of the IBCB, Mr Justice John Hedigan, said:

“As a board, we aim to embed ethical behaviour in banking culture across Ireland. Support for bereaved customers was a frequent topic brought up during our consultations with the public and the IBCB has acted on this information to deliver this common commitment of care. Losing a loved one is a traumatic event in anyone’s life and banks should work to ensure they help those who are grieving as much as possible.”

Comment from the Irish Hospice Foundation's Chief Executive

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), the only national charity dedicated to death, dying and bereavement, has welcomed the common commitment of care.

Its Chief Executive, Sharon Foley, said:

“Our work with bereaved people, bereavement organisations and health professionals across Ireland tells us there is room for improvement in how different utility and financial services respond to bereaved customers. Empathy and prompt, sensitive communication are key and this systematic approach will help staff to better support bereaved customers all over Ireland. The IHF, with bereavement care providers across Ireland, has developed a Bereavement Care Model which highlights the importance of community and information supports such as this. The IBCB member banks are leading the way and we urge others to follow.”

Irish Banking Culture Board (IBCB) press release: Irish Banking Culture Board announces common commitment for assisting bereaved customers

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