The financial resilience of our customers and vulnerable groups in society is an important starting point for de Volksbank. We have, therefore, included our aim to improve the financial resilience of the Dutch in our strategic KPIs.
The most important aspects of financial resilience are that customers are able to balance income and expenditure, maintain sufficient savings buffers and fully understand the financial products they buy. Moreover, we want to familiarise citizens with finances to enable them to participate fully and independently in economic life. To this end, we have developed several programmes to provide customers with preventive support or to improve people’s financial knowledge.
Mortgage Support Team
Customers may, for various reasons, have difficulty in paying their monthly mortgage payment. For example because they are suddenly faced with rising fixed charges, a divorce or an illness. These problems may become so great that customers are forced to sell their home. Although this is especially unpleasant for customers, this also has consequences for us as a bank.
To help customers in the early stages of arrears, we have set up an Preventive Arrears Management team for our brands. In cooperation with the Mortgage Support team, an adviser looks into how customers can continue to live peacefully in their home by making the mortgage affordable again and keeping it that way. Budget Support may be called in to give customers more insight into and control over their income and expenses if required. The initiative may lie with the customer approaching us for preventive arrears management, or with us when we proactively contact customers - based on data available to us - who may have an increased risk of arrears.
When children learn how to deal with money wisely at a young age, this will stand them
in good stead for the rest of their lives. That is why we have developed Eurowijs: free financial learning materials for use by teachers or during guest lessons given by our employees. Teachers and schools can also order the Eurowijs learning materials via our website. Eurowijs is available for primary school children of all ages and is also widely used in special needs schools and addresses financial topics ranging from recognising euro coins and notes to cash withdrawals and counterfeit money.
Bank voor de klas
We also take part in the industry-wide Bank voor de klas initiative. Every spring, our employees give Eurowijs guest lessons at primary schools throughout the Netherlands.
You can read more about how many guest lessons we gave last year in our annual report.