Bankwest this week ushers in NAIDOC Week with a bolstered Indigenous Customer Assistance Line (ICAL) that has handled more than 1200 calls, as it approaches the end of the initiative’s first year of implementation.
ICAL is comprised of a team of Bankwest contact centre colleagues dedicated to providing better banking access for Indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Island customers, particularly those living in remote areas.
Demand for the service has resulted in the team taking more than 1200 calls in its first eight full months.
ICAL seeks to improve the financial wellbeing of indigenous customers via three key processes: a culturally sensitive ID process; an alternative solution for failed ID checks; and Back Office Payment Transfers.
The processes ensure remote customers are not forced to travel hours to a Bankwest branch in the event of a failed ID check, and in some cases can have money transferred to a friend or family member for withdrawal.
Bankwest’s ICAL was piloted in February with two dedicated colleagues, before expanding to eight in the recent months to meet growing demand for the service.
The ICAL colleagues participate in indigenous cultural training and ongoing learning modules, ensuring they have a strong understanding of Indigenous Australian history, and cultural differences and practices.
Bankwest General Manager Personal & Third-Party Banking Donna Dalby said: “Our priority is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities, and that means adapting to meet individual needs.
“There are times when it simply isn’t appropriate to provide the same service to everyone, and requiring a customer visit a branch due to a failed ID check, when they live hours away with no car, is not fair or practical.
“There was a case recently in which a customer was hours from their community, with no ID and no money to get home, and these processes allowed them to ID at a police station, and access funds via a friend.
“We know there are gaping holes in systems across society that allow some of our most vulnerable members of the community to slip through, and it’s important we do what we can to ensure no Australian is left behind.
“Our ICAL colleagues are taking more than 200 calls a month, and while there is more work to do, it’s an important step in helping to support Indigenous Australians in improving their financial wellbeing.”
Bankwest’s vision is to deliver brilliant customer experiences every day and our purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities. Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions for more than 1.1 million customers across Australia. Our customers enjoy access to an extensive network of branches and business centres, direct and third-party distribution channels, agencies and electronic banking facilities, as well as 24-hour banking on the telephone, internet and the Bankwest App. Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit license 234945.