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Financial resilience

To improve the financial resilience of our bank brands’ customers and the people around them, we actively focus on three areas: skills, confidence and financial position. We use education programmes such as Eurowijs to encourage the teaching of financial skills to young children. SNS organises secure online banking workshops in several shops to educate people in dealing with matters such as email phishing, harmful software and social engineering.

But we do more...

We have used the Financial Confidence Barometer since March 2018 to measure financial confidence among 750 Dutch people, including more than 500 customers. Our aim for 2020 is that 50% of our customers will indicate that the bank is ready to help them when they have financial stress. This figure was 48.1% at the end of 2019; that means we are well on our way to reaching our target. Click here for more information on de Volksbank’s vision of financial resilience.

Focus on prevention

A study by the Financial Resilience Centre of Expertise has revealed that people in debt wait to find help for five years on average. Their debts accumulate and become more than ten times as high in those five years. That is why we focus on prevention. For instance, with SNS we take part in the Dutch Debt Support Programme (Nederlandse Schuldhulproute) with the aim of preventing payment problems from growing into financial worries. SNS also organises information sessions for customers with interest-only mortgages.

Being there when it matters

We are there for customers when it matters the most. RegioBank, for instance, makes sure that an independent adviser is always nearby, and SNS offers all its customers a personal ‘customer team’ and the room to decide how personal they would like the team to be. ASN Bank does not have any physical shops, but receives high scores on customer contact and customer satisfaction. And BLG Wonen makes the housing market more accessible for first-time buyers, for example, by introducing the ‘rent statement’ for high-rent tenants.

Assistance rather than debt collection

And since we are ready to help customers even in times of hardship, we stopped using debt collection agencies in 2017. That is because we do not want customers to be unnecessarily saddled with debt collection costs. We also visit customers at home and in some cases offer budget coaching and, if necessary, also job coaching free of charge if people are in arrears of their mortgage payments. If you would like to know more about this and if you are a customer of SNS, ASN Bank or RegioBank, please contact your adviser.

Eurowijs: never too young to learn

Children need to learn how to handle money from an early age. To increase children’s skills, last year we reached over 215,000 pupils in primary and secondary education with the free Eurowijs financial education package.

We do so through guest lessons that our own employees give as volunteers, and through the free teaching materials we make available to teachers. One in three primary schools are using the teaching materials now, and parents also become more and more familiar with Eurowijs. This is how we work together to lay the foundations for teaching financial skills.

Go to eurowijs.nl if you want to order teaching materials for your school. Especially for children, we have Eurowijs Kids – the most entertaining website about money, featuring exercises and fun games.