Last week I was very proud when our CEO Ross McEwan added his name to the list of those who support the Daily Mail's 'Looking after your legacy' campaign. The area of bereavement is one that we must get right every time. Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows what a difficult time it can be. It is why we do our upmost to treat our customers with sensitivity, and make things simple and easy for them when they need us most. I am particularly pleased that RBS and NatWest are committed to engaging with industry colleagues to improve the processes around bereavement.
I head up the Bank's Customers in Vulnerable Situations programme which began in April 2014 as the result of a scoping exercise that highlighted opportunities to improve the overall proposition, experience and outcome for customers who may be permanently or situationally vulnerable. As a business, we need to be relentless in ensuring we support our customers when they need us most, and our vulnerability strategy supports our goal of being number one for customer service, trust and advocacy by 2020. We are working to ensure our staff are clear, capable and motivated to identify and support customers experiencing vulnerabilities, and that our products and services are designed to be accessible to all of our customers.
I was delighted to be asked to represent RBS and NatWest on the British Bankers Association (BBA) task force which has been set up to implement the recommendations outlined in the Daily Mail's campaign. I will be joined by Karen Warren who heads up our Bolton Customer Service Operations Team within PBB. The Bolton team look after our customers who are going through a bereavement.
We have comprehensive materials for our staff to use when dealing with customers who have suffered bereavement, and dedicated phone lines for them to call and get specialist help. This includes offering to pay the funeral expenses out of the deceased estate, thereby removing one further thing the bereaved party has to deal with. However the Daily Mail has identified that we, as an industry, can do more to help our customers and I look forward to working with the BBA and our industry partners to ensure that our customers are looked after when they are faced with the most difficult situations.