Bank of Ireland – Supporting our Customers, Colleagues and Communities during Covid-19

Members News - Apr 20, 2020

At Bank of Ireland, we are committed to supporting our customers, colleagues and communities in a responsible way through the Covid-19 pandemic. We have made a number of significant changes to how we operate to respond to this public health emergency and we have a range of supports in place for personal and business customers, our communities and suppliers as well as supporting our colleagues so that they can continue to serve our customers. We will continue to review the supports required as the impact of Covid-19 evolves further over the coming weeks.

Francesca McDonagh, Group CEO of Bank of Ireland, commented:

This is a national emergency, and our response to it will be as strong as possible – for our customers, colleagues, the economy, and society as a whole. We know that the services we provide are critical. We have a range of options in place for customers, and we will do more to find solutions during this very challenging time. For almost 240 years we have been a business that exists to serve our customers. That focus remains unchanged.

Supporting our Customers

  • We quickly rolled out a broad range of supports for personal and business customers –including mortgage and loan payment breaks for personal customers and emergency working capital and payment flexibility for businesses;
  • We put in place a fully online application process for mortgage payment breaks so that customers could apply quickly and easily for a break if they need one;
  • We have waived fees for contactless payments for the duration of the public health emergency, worked with partners to increase the limit on contactless purchase from €30 to €50, deferred fee changes for cash handling, and bought back foreign currency at the price it was purchased to ensure customers who couldn’t travel wouldn’t be out of pocket;
  • We have launched a new service to allow self-isolating customers access cash without having to leave their homes or break their isolation;
  • We have put in place dedicated phone lines for healthcare workers, the over 65s and carers who need more help with their banking at this time;
  • We have diverted colleagues away from revenue-generating sales role to roles where they can support the processing of thousands of online applications and calls for support we have received.

Our Covid-19 hubs provide further information on supports for our personal and business customers.

Supporting our Colleagues

  • Colleague Communication – our aim is to communicate in a clear and consistent way with our colleagues. Our Covid-19 hub which can be accessed by colleagues through any device brings together all the key information for colleagues including the latest updates and guidance, videos, jurisdiction specific information, FAQs etc. Regular email updates are issued from both the CEO and the Chief People Officer and a dedicated Covid-19 People Services Helpline has been put in place. Specific guidance for people managers has also been developed to assist them during this period.
  • Ways of Working – having rolled out Agile Ways of Working across the Group in 2019, Bank of Ireland was in an excellent position to enable large-scale remote working when Government restrictions were put in place. The majority of colleagues are now working from home. However, given the importance to society, Banks have been categorised as an essential service and colleagues in key roles are required to attend offices or branches. We have implemented a range of initiatives including social distancing measures, enhanced and more frequent cleaning, and protective screens and distancing markers to protect the health and wellbeing of our colleagues as well as our customers. We have also launched a way for colleagues whose roles have not been deemed as ‘key roles’ in the current situation, to offer their support to teams who need extra help in critical support roles, such as contact centres, branches and other critical operations activities.
  • Colleague wellbeing – our colleague wellbeing app, which was launched earlier in the year, is our main hub for supporting our colleagues’ wellbeing through this challenging period. We have launched a 10-week colleague wellbeing programme ‘Staying Healthy Together’, focusing on our Physical, Mental and Financial Wellbeing throughout the Covid-19 crisis. It features advice on exercise, coping with stress and anxiety and parenting. Our Employee Assistance Programme is, as always, available to our colleagues at this time and the details are promoted extensively.
  • Colleague recognition – over the past number of weeks we have been hearing some remarkable stories on how colleagues across the Bank have been living our purpose and values in challenging circumstances. In light of that, we launched “Recognising Success”, to gather and profile these stories and recognise the positive impact colleagues are having within the organisation.

Supporting our Communities

  • We have donated €1 million in emergency support to a number of charities and community groups working with some of the most vulnerable on the island of Ireland. In partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland, we are fast tracking €500,000 of the funds to 13 organisations that are working to support the immediate needs of vulnerable groups across the island of Ireland, north and south. This support is being delivered to projects which will support children and older people, domestic abuse, rural isolation, cancer support, mental health, and food distribution.
  • The remaining €500,000 is being donated to The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 Funds to help local charities and community organisations assisting vulnerable individuals and groups through this difficult period. More information on this can be found here.

Supporting our Suppliers

  • We have changed the payment terms for our small and medium sized suppliers from 30 day notice to five day payment to help support cash flow in these companies. More information on this can be found here.