Last week, a major bank implemented a series of changes, both updating its credit policy as well as ramping up its support of vulnerable customers in response to the new banking code of practice.
According to NAB, the changes to its home lending policies “provide greater clarity for brokers" in the current environment of consistently increasing regulatory considerations.
The major bank made updates to its document validity requirements, parental leave and rental income, now accommodating for customer choice and emerging rental arrangements for investment properties.
NAB is also removing the requirement that borrowers who have taken a break or extended leave be returning to work within 60 days. However, brokers are required to record the details of the customer’s plan to maintain their repayments and living costs while on leave, as well as to sign off on the budget seeming “reasonable”.
The bank also announced the creation of the NAB Customer Support Hub, a specialist team of bankers dedicated to detecting early stages of financial hardship – from scams to fraud, domestic and family violence, elder abuse and low financial literacy.
“We want to be there for our customers no matter their circumstances and this new team of bankers provides support well beyond that of traditional financial hardship assistance,” said NAB chief legal and commercial counsel, Sharon Cook.
“This Support Hub enables us to be more proactive by identifying hurdles our customers are experiencing and providing them with extra care.”
The new team was officially announced following a successful trial in June. Its creation was just one step in the development of what NAB has termed its "customer vulnerability framework," an initiative geared towards creating more inclusive banking services and better support for its customers.
“We have also set up a dedicated Indigenous Customer Service Line for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers living in remote locations, which is making a huge difference to how they access banking services,” Cook added.
NAB estimates it assists 1.4 million customers experiencing financial difficulty due to events such as injury, illness and unemployment every year.