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Reduction in banks causing problems for elderly

Reduction in banks causing problems for elderly
10th May 2016

New analysis has suggested that closing banks could cause problems for older people, who may not be comfortable using online services.

Research from Age UK found that nearly 10,000 bank branches have closed over the past 25 years. This is leaving many older people without access to basic banking services, the charity warns.

In its new report ‘Age-friendly banking – what it is and how you do it’, Age UK calls on banks to do more to appeal to this demographic by offering age-friendly services.

As online banking becomes more popular, many banks have closed branches as they increase their digital offering. However, the charity is urging companies to consider the needs of older customers and think about how these can be met, especially for those living in rural and semi-rural areas.

Age UK suggests a number of initiatives that could help improve access for elderly customers, such as telebanking, enhanced use of the Post Office, joint bank branches and mobile branches.

Not being digitally savvy is a big barrier to engaging elderly people in online services, but other issues like concerns about security and physical disabilities can also play a key role in deterring older customers from looking into online services.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said elderly people often talk about the challenges they face when it comes to managing their money.

"The increasing reliance on online methods is difficult for many and bank branch closures can leave older people feeling high and dry, but we have been heartened to hear about some creative and successful approaches that work well for older people and for banks and building societies too," she explained.

Age UK also outlined a number of ways that banks can improve their services, such as training staff to identify the specific needs older people have and how to respond appropriately, especially with regard to cognitive decline, scams and financial abuse.

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