8 November 2017
- Service supports members with cancer, other life-limiting conditions and those affected by mental health conditions.
More than 5,000 people affected by cancer, life-limiting conditions or mental health challenges have been supported by Nationwide Building Society’s Specialist Support Service. As a result, they have benefitted from support and guidance on managing their finances during a difficult period in their lives.
Initially launched in October 2015 in response to Macmillan Cancer Support’s 2014 “Counting on Your Support Report”1, which set out nine recommendations to the financial industry to ease the financial impact of cancer, Nationwide now offers the service to those affected by other life-limiting conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and motor neurone conditions, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and to those affected by mental health conditions, such as depression.
The breakdown of members supported by illness is:
||% of total cases
|Affected by cancer
|Living with a mental capacity limitation (e.g. dementia, mental health problems, a learning disability.
|Living with a life-limiting condition (e.g. heart disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis)
|Experienced a sudden change in personal circumstances (e.g. redundancy, divorce)
|At risk of financial abuse (e.g. coercion or controlled by a third party or abuse of a Power of Attorney)
|Issues affecting older people
|Living with an addiction/dependency (e.g. gambling)
The service provides support to Nationwide members in vulnerable circumstances who may need additional help managing their finances. Each customer using the service is given a single point of contact who can make changes to their products and policies in order to give them more control, choice and independence over their money. Changes range from cancelling overdraft fees to product switches and payment holidays.
Referrals with Macmillan
The initiative has also allowed Nationwide to refer members affected by cancer to Macmillan’s Financial Guidance Service. To date, more than 400 Nationwide members have been referred, in turn unlocking more than £280,000 in grants and benefits that may have otherwise been lost.
Mandy Griffin, Nationwide’s Director of Membership, said: “Since its inception, the Specialist Support Service has continued to help members and their families who face sudden and unexpected changes in their lives, with extra assistance when they need it most. To have supported 5,000 members in the first two years is a great achievement. By providing members with a single point of contact, we can work with them to reduce stress at times when money should be the last thing on their mind.
“From the moment we launched the service supporting people affected by cancer, we believe it has made a real difference to members’ lives, and this has been amplified since we expanded the service to support those with other life-limiting conditions, such as heart disease and motor neurone disease, and more recently to those affected by mental health conditions.”
CASE STUDY – MR LAW
Mr Law contacted the Specialist Support Team after a Leukaemia diagnosis for which he has been receiving treatment on and off. He has another condition called sleep apnoea which he has under control. He had his license revoked and lost his job as a driver but managed to get another job quickly afterwards.
Mr Law was struggling with his finances. He incurred several charges on his FlexPlus account and missed payments on his credit card. To understand his situation, the Specialist Support Team completed an income and expenditure form to identify how Nationwide could best support him. The team placed a six-month interest free waiver on his credit card to enable him to reduce the capital on his card and pay off his debt quicker.
The team also reviewed his payments and suggested arrangements be made for his main bills (council tax, personal loan, credit card and his rent payments on a weekly basis) to enable him to manage his finances as he is paid weekly. This helped him to manage his FlexAccount and stop the account exceeding the agreed overdraft limit.
In addition, Nationwide also removed charges he had incurred from the credit card and the FlexAccount and arranged for his overdraft to be extended for six months. This allowed him to reduce the overdraft over a manageable period of time without incurring further charges and giving him some breathing space whilst managing his finances.
After the initial support, the Specialist Support Team undertook a review of his accounts on a regular basis and arranged for further charges to be removed on his credit card and his FlexAccount.
The team also explained how his debt was spread across the promotional balance transfer and outstanding balance on his credit card, which enabled him to understand how his debt was accrued and how best to pay this off.
Mr Law was pleased with the support Nationwide was able to offer and felt more in control of his finances.
Notes to Editors: