Clydesdale Bank has been recognised as an industry leader for its innovative responsible credit card lending support programme for customers.
Winning the Corporate Social Responsibility category at the prestigious Credit Card Awards in London, the Bank was recognised for its pro-active support programme that aims to assist customers before they get into financial difficulty.
Operated through the Bank's contact centre in Clydebank, Glasgow, named world-wide "Best Contact Centre of the Year" in Las Vegas last November, the initiative is part of a range of innovative programmes designed to help promote financial education and tackle consumer debt.
Since February 2006, the Bank has been identifying customers who may be entering financial difficulties Specialist customer care staff proactively contact the customer to offer practical advice and support.
Since the customer care unit was launched, customers have been given advice about the most cost effective way to operate the credit card account and how to improve their financial management. For example credit limits have been reduced at the customer's request, bill payment dates changed to better align with income and direct debits set up on customers' accounts. Where appropriate, customers are referred to free professional debt counselling organisations, such as the National Debtline.
Graham Grant, the Bank's Head of Cards said, "We have made a substantial investment to ensure that customers get the best possible service.
"Through detailed analysis we can observe patterns of behaviour that may indicate customers would benefit from a proactive conversation about their card. We contact the customer to see if there is anything that we can do to help. Most importantly, this is not a sales call - no products can be sold by the Bank representative. We find these calls are well received whether or not they choose to take an action. Customers have been very positive about the proactive contact ".
In awarding the prize, Chair of the Judging panel, Sandra Quinn, said "We considered the Clydesdale Bank's pre-delinquency programme to be one of the best entries in this year's Credit Card Awards."
Recognising the award John McFall MP, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, said: "I would like to congratulate the Clydesdale Bank on this latest award. I saw for myself at first hand on a recent visit to their Clydebank Contact Centre how this system works. I was impressed by the early warning aspect of it. Timely financial guidance and advice helps consumers to avoid serious debt situations and the stress that goes with this as a person's finances slide out of control."