Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland first UK banks to achieve ‘advanced’ mental health accessibility rating
31 August 2023
- The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute charity has awarded Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland an ‘Advanced’ rating through its ‘Mental Health Accessible’ programme for banks and essential services.
- The three banks are the first businesses in the UK to achieve the ‘Advanced’ rating, which is the second of three levels firms can achieve through the programme.
- This follows a comprehensive review by the charity assessing the accessibility of their services for customers with mental health problems.
- The award recognises the measures Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland are taking to support their customers with mental health problems, and the progress they have made after working with Money and Mental Health to make their services more accessible.
Money and Mental Health’s ‘Mental Health Accessible’ programme helps essential services providers – including banks, energy and water companies – to better understand and address the challenges faced by customers with mental health problems when accessing and using their services.
The programme was established after the charity’s research found that many people with mental health problems face serious barriers to carrying out essential financial admin, particularly during periods of illness (1). It explored how factors including difficulties using the phone, problems with concentration and ‘admin anxiety’ can result in people with poor mental health struggling to access – and even being cut off from – essential services.
Today, Money and Mental Health has announced Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland have each been awarded an ‘Advanced’ accreditation through the Mental Health Accessible programme – the first UK firms to receive this accolade. This is the second of three, progressively more demanding levels of accreditation a firm can achieve through the scheme (the first is ‘Essentials’ and the third is ‘Leading the Way’).
The three banks were accredited with an ‘Essentials’ rating by Money and Mental Health in 2020 and 2021, following in-depth assessments which tested the accessibility of their services for people with mental health problems – including a review of their customer services, colleagues’ training and customer-facing communications.
Money and Mental Health has upgraded this rating to ‘Advanced’ status in recognition of the progress made by the three banks in making their services more accessible and supportive for people living with mental health problems, and the action taken on previous recommendations set out by the charity including:
- Taking steps to better understand the different types of vulnerabilities customers are experiencing – including mental health problems – and what support these customers need to reduce potential harm. The firms are also using data-driven insights to identify and anticipate the needs of customers in vulnerable circumstances, in order to provide support.
- Providing holistic training to frontline colleagues dealing with customers in vulnerable circumstances, to help identify those who might be struggling and support them appropriately. Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland have also committed to providing specific training on how colleagues can support people with mental health problems.
- Increasing the sophistication of gambling blocks, through functions like allowing customers to set personal limits for gambling through the mobile banking app. This is important for people with mental health problems who can experience increased impulsivity when they are unwell.
While Money and Mental Health is pleased to award Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland ‘Advanced’ accreditation, it also shared a number of recommendations on where the banks can make further improvements to enhance support for customers with mental health problems.
The charity will continue to work with the banks to increase the ways in which customers are able to communicate with them, such as secure messaging and email. Money and Mental Health is also looking to support other banks and essential services firms, to help them make their services more accessible and supportive for people with mental health problems.
Rosie Normanton, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Money and Mental Health, said:
“We’re delighted that Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland have achieved the next level of Mental Health Accessible accreditation – the first UK banks to do so. We are impressed with the great strides they’ve made in recent years to make their services more supportive for people with mental health problems, and we will continue to work with them to build on this progress further.
“When you’re struggling with your mental health, managing your bank account or getting in touch with customer service teams can be incredibly difficult. But when you’re also faced with hard-to-access support – or a service which simply isn’t designed with people with mental health problems in mind – that can very quickly turn into an impossible task.
“With 1 in 2 adults likely to experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, it’s vital that financial services firms are equipped to support people struggling with their mental health. We want to help other banks and essential services providers better understand the needs of these customers – and develop solutions to make their services more accessible and supportive. In the context of the Consumer Duty and the ongoing cost of living crisis, it’s vital that banks act to ensure that all their customers can easily access the services and support they need.”
Catherine Rutter, Group Customer Inclusion Director and Group Sponsor for Neurodiversity at Lloyds Banking Group, said:
“We’re proud to have been recognised as the first three financial organisations to achieve the ‘Advanced’ rating from the Mental Health Accessible programme facilitated by Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. By working to ensure our products and services are accessible for customers with mental health problems we’re proving our organisation is a force for good, especially as 1 in 2 adults in the UK are likely to experience mental health problems during their lifetime.
“Lloyds Bank, Halifax, and Bank of Scotland were previously awarded the ‘Essentials’ rating but with further enhancements made to make our services more accessible we are proud to have achieved the advanced rating. Receiving this accreditation showcases the organisation’s commitment to Helping Britain Prosper.”
To find out more about how Money and Mental Health can work with your firm, please contact Rosie Normanton, Head of Strategic Partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For media enquiries, please contact Rachel Fergusson, External Affairs Officer at Money and Mental Health, on 07935 216 804 or email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
- Money and Mental Health’s 2018 report ‘Access essentials – giving people with mental health problems equal access to vital services’.
About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is an independent charity set up by Martin Lewis, and committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. We conduct research, develop practical policy solutions and work in partnership with both those providing services and those using them to find what really works. www.moneyandmentalhealth.org
About Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) is a leading financial services group and the UK’s largest retail bank. Its brands, services and business span every aspect of banking and finance, including some of the biggest names on the high street, such as Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland.