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Bendigo Bank launches Financial Inclusion Action Plan

The non-major bank has released its inaugural action plan aimed at increasing the financial wellbeing of its customers.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s inaugural Financial Inclusion Action Plan (the Plan) was developed in consultation with stakeholders in order to benefit customers, people, suppliers, and communities.

According to the non-major bank, the Plan homes in on the bank’s actions, activities, and investments to 2025, committing to 52 actions aimed at enhancing financial wellbeing in four areas:

• Fair, affordable, and accessible products and services.
• Enhancing the financial capability of staff, customers, and the community through fostering organisational culture.
• Investigating, advocating, and collaborating for improved responses to financial vulnerability.
• Abolishing barriers and giving opportunities for economic security, equality, and growth.

Marnie Baker, chief executive and managing director of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank commented: “We’re driven by our purpose to feed into the prosperity of our customers and communities and our Foundational Financial Inclusion Action Plan is an important step toward realising our vision to be Australia’s bank of choice.

“By taking a holistic approach to accountable delivery of more inclusive and accessible communications channels and banking services, we’re able to better support our 2.4 million customers, our staff, and the broader communities we live and work in to realise their respective financial goals.”

Ms Baker added that the Plan confronts serious issues and life events experienced by some of the bank’s customers, such as systemic and generational disadvantage, incarceration, problematic gambling, domestic and family violence, and financial abuse and implements direct and indirect supports.

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The Plan is part of the ongoing delivery of the non-major bank’s “Banking Safely Online” program, which provides scam awareness and safety online training presentations for community groups and members.

Ms Baker confirmed that the Plan is led by Good Shepard Australia and New Zealand, whose framework supports organisations in producing outcomes at three Financial Inclusion Action Plan levels – “Foundation, Build, and Elevate”.

This came as another non-major bank AMP Bank announced it has updated its terms and conditions for loans and accounts for new and existing customers to allow the lender to provide support for vulnerable customers at risk of financial abuse.

The non-major bank confirmed updates to facilitating the closure of accounts, blocking transactions, cancelling cards and/or access methods, and restricting accounts for the protection of another individual.

Additionally, AMP Bank has the authority to act on requests made by an individual to prevent or mitigate financial hardship they may be experiencing in the event where it is believed that a joint account holder is under financial pressure.

[RELATED: AMP bolsters protections against financial abuse]

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