Minister of Social Equality and Pensioners, Supervisor of Banks, Association of Banks CEO, and senior banking executives discussed the creation of a uniform banking-system standard for the treatment of the elderly
In an online discussion held at the initiative of Minister of Social Equality and Pensioners MK Meirav Cohen, together with Supervisor of Banks Yair Avidan, Association of Banks in Israel CEO Eitan Madmon, and representatives of commercial banks’ management, an agreement was reached on future activities. This was done with the goal of assisting with the service provided by the banks to the elderly population in Israel as much as possible, through the understanding that alongside the digitization that the banking world is going through, it is important to continue supporting those elderly with a low digital literacy, by providing the appropriate response for their needs.
Minister of Social Equality and Pensioners MK Meirav Cohen said, “In recent years, the digitization process at banks has picked up considerable momentum, and in line with the global trend, more branches are closing. There are numerous cases in which senior citizens have had difficulty adjusting to change, as the gap in their ability to manage with the digital tools provided by the banks as well as the current situation makes it very difficult for them to receive basic and crucial banking services. In addition, during this time of coronavirus, the banks’ contact and accessibility to senior citizens has become more significant due to the limitations on movement. I commend the Supervisor of Banks and the banking system for the cooperation and I believe that together we will be able to ensure that older people are not overlooked and will receive an appropriate response.”
Supervisor of Banks Yair Avidan said, “The banking system is a significant part of the socioeconomic fabric in Israel and it must continue to emphasize the accompanying of the senior citizen population with the adjustment to digital banking and the accessibility of service. I commend Minister Cohen on holding the round table with the goal of raising the flag and establishing the insights in the empathy and the effort that must be invested in order to find the ideal ways to serve this important population, and on the productive collaboration for the sake of the senior citizens.”
Association of Banks in Israel CEO Eitan Madmon said, “The population of older customers of the banking system requires special attention and treatment, in routine times and particularly at this time. The challenges and needs change periodically. The challenge for all of us is to aim for an appropriate response. Today, when the lack of accessibility, the health risk in proximity to other people, and ongoing needs, are a daily reality, the banking system is doing, and will do, all that it can to provide appropriate and suitable responses. We are pleased with the collaboration with the Ministry for Social Equality and the Banking Supervision Department, and we will mobilize for the required adjustments.”
During the discussion, the Supervisor presented the banking system’s challenges in providing banking services during the coronavirus crisis to the general population, and to senior citizens in particular, and the numerous steps taken to remove barriers, with the goal of assisting senior citizens to deal with the ramifications of the crisis.
In addition, bank representatives shared some of the activities they have taken to assist senior citizens in dealing with the coronavirus crisis, in the following issues:
- Telephone call centers—are required to give precedence to dialers over the age of 70
- Messenger service—there are banks in which certain banking activities are provided by messengers who go to the elderly customer’s home
- Reducing the need to arrive at the branch—most services are provided by phone
- Mobile branches—banks’ mobile branches go to places in which there are concentrations of elderly populations where their closest branch closed.
At the discussion, it was also noted that among the older population, 51 percent use Internet services, with 30 percent utilizing government services online and 38 percent paying bills via the Internet. As such, even during this complicated period, the human response and solutions for digitization for senior citizens are very important.
At the conclusion of the discussion, it was agreed that a process of formulating a service covenant will be carried out, to be adopted by all the banks. It will ensure the provision of a response for the needs of the older populations, in addition to the broad activities for senior citizens taken by each bank individually, whether under the requirement of Banking Supervision Department directives or as welcome independent initiatives.