This month, ASB will roll out Community Bankers across New Zealand, providing targeted coaching and seminars to help customers with their personal finance needs. Community Bankers will work with customers in areas they’d like additional support such as boosting their financial wellbeing to banking online, either one-on-one or in small groups depending on their needs.
With rising living costs a clear concern for Kiwis, ASB’s Community Bankers can play an important role in connecting customers with financial wellbeing tools to help them navigate increasing costs.
The programme is the outcome of ASB’s highly successful Community Bankers pilot held in Northland, Waikato, and Auckland during 2021. Over 1,000 customers were reached through the pilot, with support pivoting to ‘care calls’ during lockdown periods and more than 2,000 customers helped by phone.
ASB Executive General Manager Retail Banking Adam Boyd says the pilot received very positive feedback and the remit of Community Bankers has now expanded to include financial wellbeing seminars and in-person support for vulnerable customers, new-to-employment seminars covering how to budget, pay bills online and more for new workers and workshops for customers who are speakers of other languages.
“It was clear during the pilot that customers really valued the opportunity to meet in person with a Community Banker. With cost-of-living concerns, the time is right to extend the focus of the programme to ensure we’re helping build financial resilience,” says Mr. Boyd.
Community Bankers also receive targeted training to help recognise and respond to customers experiencing family violence, which can manifest as financial control between partners or family members.
“Community Bankers can help customers understand their options and will connect them with other community agencies if this is appropriate. They can also guide customers through Support Finder, ASB’s tool that can help customers understand their eligibility for financial support from government agencies,” says Mr Boyd.
Community Bankers are now available across the North Island, and in the central and southern regions of the South Island, doubling the number previously available.
“Our community bankers are mobile and able to travel to wherever they are needed. This will be especially helpful for customers who find it difficult to get to their local branch or are based in remote locations. We are currently recruiting for a Nelson-based community banker to fully round out our nationwide coverage,” says Mr Boyd.
"Community Bankers are here to help. Whether you’re just starting out in the workforce, or you’ve been a long-time customer, our Community Banking team can provide extra support to help boost your financial or everyday banking skills."
Customers can meet with their community banker by calling the ASB Contact Centre on 0800 272 119 (65+ priority line) or 0800 803 804, or go online to book a Better Banking Workshop.