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Building societies lead in catering for older customers

Almost two-thirds of building societies have undertaken a business-wide review of the needs of older customers compared to just 27% of other financial firms, the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey shows.

The Survey shows building societies outperforming their peers across a range of measurements – good news given the emphasis the BSA has placed on the ageing population over the past couple of years.

One of the highlights is that 98% of the societies surveyed had, either, already developed age-appropriate products and services, or were planning to. Compare this to just 32% of the total market – with 68% saying they had no plans to even look at doing so. Topical, considering the FCA's recent Occasional Paper on the Ageing Population and Financial Services and consultation paper on retirement interest-only mortgages, which you can read about here.

These results support the media attention societies have been receiving for being more flexible and customer-centric in their approach to issues such as lending into retirement. However, the Survey also looked wider than products and found that:

  • 95% felt they ensured access to services among older customers (e.g. via non-digital channels)
  • 95% had either adapted their communications (e.g. for those with physical impairment) or were planning to do so
  • 80% either already provide advice tailored to older customers or were planning to
  • 65% had already trained staff to respond to the specific needs of older customers

The scores for the total financial services sector on these questions were 61%, 50%, 32% and 29%, clearly showing societies are well ahead of the curve in each category.  By putting their reviews into action, building societies are able to cater for the needs of older customers right across the business and make a real difference for this growing demographic.

Posted by Charlie Blagbrough on 28 September 2017