As HSBC starts to train 12,000 staff to understand more about dementia, we take a look at how financial services are waking up to the needs of customers dealing with dementia.

Managing money can quickly become very difficult for anyone living with dementia. Remembering pin numbers and passwords is hard enough, but as more and more counter staff are replaced  by self service machines it’s easy to see why so many people with dementia begin to find banking just another thing they have to worry about.

Back in October 2013, Lloyds Banking Group and The Alzheimer’s Society launched The Dementia-Friendly Financial Services Charter, its aim was to ensure that customers with dementia, and their carers, are given appropriate help and treated with respect and dignity. The charter was supported by major banks, building societies and insurance groups who agreed to help improve everyday life for people with dementia.

Lloyds led the way, making its services more accessible and training employees in how to adapt services for people living with dementia. RBS quickly followed suit, becoming the first official dementia-friendly bank in Scotland.

And now HSBC – which has 17 million customers in the UK - has announced its own plans to become a dementia-friendly bank, rolling out a number of initiatives to support people with dementia. As well as staff training (Dementia Friends information sessions in which staff will learn more about dementia and the small ways they can help) the bank will also be launching an advice guide to help customers and carers handle their finances. The guide is currently being piloted in 10 HSBC branches with plans to roll it out nationwide.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society has welcomed this news, saying: ‘Visiting a bank branch can be an overwhelming task for a person with dementia. What many take for granted as easy, everyday banking tasks like, remembering a PIN or other personal information, can suddenly become an unexpected challenge.’

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