NFP Partners with ANZ on Debt Advice Pilot
14 October 2010 at 12:19 pm
ANZ Banking group is partnering with Not for Profit welfare group, Kildonan Uniting Care to pilot a free, independent debt advice service and an early assistance program to support customers experiencing financial hardship.
ANZ says the independent debt advice pilot will initially focus on ANZ home loan customers in Victoria and Kildonan Uniting Care, who are recognised experts in the field of financial counselling, will provide the over the phone service.
The pilot identifies customers who may benefit from speaking with a financial counsellor and provides them with information on Kildonan services and how to contact them.
Program Leader, Katie Rattigan says getting timely access to information and independent assistance when their customers need them most can be a challenge, with long waiting periods for face-to-face financial counselling services often the norm.
Rattigan says customers will often prefer to engage with an arm's length service to get advice on their whole financial situation, including debts outside of their ANZ accounts.
She says the debt advice pilot will assist on both fronts, providing customers with access to financial counselling that is convenient, accessible and potentially less daunting than a face-to-face service.
She says an important aspect of this pilot is independence and confidentiality, so ANZ will not provide customer details to Kildonan and they will not report client details on who has taken up the service back to the bank.
The partnership also sees them conducting an Early Assistance Pilot to support customers who are showing signs of potential financial stress, before they miss payments. The initiative offers customers access to a range of early assistance measures to help them avoid more serious financial problems down the track.
The pilot commenced in July and is targeting over 3,500 credit card customers. To date, ANZ says more than 11 per cent of customers contacted have accepted the offer of support and say they will benefit from changes to their credit card product.
Mona Mrad, Kildonan's Program Manager for Financial Services says the organisation has a long history of providing financial services and each of their advisors ten or more years of experience.
Mrad says the pilot allows for people experiencing money problems to be identified quicker and seen quicker and not wait until the Sherrif is at the door to repossess their property.
Given the early success of the pilot, ANZ says it is now looking to expand the program of early assistance to customers with multiple ANZ products in 2011.