Decision makers from government and the financial sector are spending time with financial mentors to get practical insights into their daily work and the assistance they offer clients experiencing vulnerability and financial difficulties.
The initiative, called A Day in the Life, is part of a partnership between FinCap and the New Zealand Banking Association – Te Rangapū Pēke. The partnership, which is funded by NZBA’s member banks, provides $5 million over five years to fund initiatives that support financial mentoring for people in need.
To date 20 decision makers have experienced A Day in the Life, in places ranging from Auckland to Roxburgh.
Banking Ombudsman Nicola Sladden and ANZ’s Managing Director – Personal Banking Ben Kelleher are among those who have experienced A Day in the Life.
Nicola Sladden says: “I was struck by the need to deal with so many different agencies, which highlighted the benefit of the financial mentor providing holistic support.
“In one case a mum, who was the sole breadwinner, could no longer work because of an injury. The issues were dealt with in a compassionate, future-focused, and empowering way. I was really impressed by her optimism for a better future despite the challenging issues.”
Ben Kelleher says: “I saw first-hand the range of circumstances mentors face, much of it inter-generational and often with wider social, health, and family issues to consider.
“From a bank’s perspective, it’s a reminder of why lending responsibly is so important. Making sure people really understand the services we are providing, educating them about how to manage their repayments over the long-term, and the importance of saving.
“The main thing I took away from this was the important role financial mentoring services play in the community. It really is a life-changing experience for someone when you can help them get back on their feet and feeling financially secure.”
FinCap Chief Executive Ruth Smithers says: “We’re really pleased with how A Day in the Life has been able to connect decision makers with financial mentors and their clients in a very practical way.”
New Zealand Banking Chief Executive Chief Executive Roger Beaumont says: “This is a great initiative and I’m delighted it’s come out of our FinCap partnership. The kind of insights that have come through are incredibly valuable.”
In addition to the Day in a Life initiative, other projects funded through the partnership include:
- Banking Sector Collaborations: Community-led initiatives to support financial mentors help their clients connect with banking services in smaller communities.
- Iwi and Pasifika Development: linking financial mentoring services with Iwi and Pasifika people to help develop financial capability for people in financial hardship.
- Workforce Development: Establishing better resources and training for financial mentors to help them assist clients experiencing vulnerability to access banking and other services.
- Data and Insights: Collecting anonymised client information to develop insights into debt management and spending behaviour before and after budgeting intervention.