Bank introduces carer's card for vulnerable customers

Bank introduces carer's card for vulnerable customers
Bank of Ireland's vulnerable customer unit introduced the initiative.

Bank of Ireland has introduced a carer's card for vulnerable customers.

Trusted friends and relatives or designated carers are now able to manage the day-to-day living expenses of those in their care.

Bank of Ireland's vulnerable customer unit introduced the card and will monitor expenditure and usage.

The unit also included a cash withdrawal limit as a safeguard and the card will bear the carer's initials and the customer's name for transparency and protection.

The bank said it introduced the card after handling numerous cases of carers unable to access cash for the day-to-day expenses of those in their care.

This can be difficult without formal arrangements such as power of the attorney.

In a statement, Bank of Ireland said their first priority during the Covid-19 pandemic were cocooning supports that "addressed an immediate need for our vulnerable customers."

Gavin Kelly, chief executive of the bank's retail Ireland division said the problems facing carers predated the pandemic however and that the vulnerable customer's unit had already challenged themselves to solve the problem.

"We think the carer’s card is a really practical solution that helps our customers and their carers while providing protection and transparency to both,” he said.

Sage Advocacy, a group working to support vulnerable people and older people welcomed the initiative.

Their executive director, Mervyn Taylor, said: "We have long been concerned about the safeguarding aspects of informal arrangements whereby a family member and / or a carer effectively ends up controlling the finances of vulnerable adults.

"Carefully controlled access to accounts overseen by specially trained bank staff is a positive development.”

Earlier this week Bank of Ireland said it was having no discussions about further extending payment breaks for customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief executive Francesca McDonagh told the Irish Examiner that there would be more impairments as the bank awaits to monitor customers who restart paying their loans at the end of the three and six-month deferral periods.

The lender posted a loss of €235m in a quarter.

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