Extra care taken with Extra Care Programme

Financial Mentors in New Zealand now have their own dedicated phoneline within Westpac to help them reach who they need to without the long wait times.

The phone and email lines will allow Financial Mentors to get directly in contact with the bank’s Customer Care Support Team, who have had specialist training to support Financial Mentors in their mahi.

If this team can’t help, they will find the right person in Westpac to speak to – potentially cutting down hours of stress for people juggling multiple money and social issues.

This service is coupled with Westpac’s warm referrals system, which sees Westpac’s team transferring people to the MoneyTalks helpline when they are interested in getting expert support to overcome issues with debt or with getting access to the basics.

Extra Care Programme Lead Tania Reed says by the time people are working with Financial Mentors, they often need immediate help. This new initiative will help fast track any conversations they may need to have with the bank.

“We’re all trying to achieve the same thing, which is to make sure our most vulnerable get the extra help and support that they need,” she says.

Financial Solutions Manager Anand Santhanam says his team of eight is trialing this system to make sure it works for everyone involved.

“We want to make is a seamless customer experience, and the only way to achieve this is by working together with the Financial Mentors and Westpac.”

These new initiatives are part of the bank’s Extra Care Programme, which include others such as offering sign language interpreters to Deaf customers and  offering bank accounts to help newly-released prisoners re-integrate into society.

Westpac met with FinCap and Financial Mentors last year to understand how they can better support the sector.

This work was put on hold because of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Now, the direct lines, staff training and referrals system have been implemented as a result under Westpac’s Extra Care Programme.

If you need budgeting advice and support call our free MoneyTalks helpline on 0800 345 123.

If you are a Financial Mentor in New Zealand and want to get in touch with the Customer Support Team, contact FinCap Policy Advisor Jake Lilley for these details.