In December, SEA was delighted to host a visit from Norm Kalcovski, Head of Customer Care at National Australia Bank (NAB) Assist for a week of talks, meetings and events in which he shared his simple, but crucial message with banks and financial institutions: trust survivors.
Nicola met Norm while on her trip to Australia as part of her Winston Churchill Fellowship and was blown away by how Norm had transformed responses to victims of economic abuse. This included scrapping ‘scripts’ for staff and application forms for hardship loans. Customers are also linked into specialist services and receive a $2,500 grant to access the support they need.
This is why, when we began planning an event for banks and financial institutions to improve their response to economic abuse here in the UK, we knew we had to have Norm as keynote speaker.
SEA’s inaugural event, ‘Banking on Change’ took place on the 6th December at Salesforce Tower. Experts and industry professionals gathered together to discuss how to help vulnerable customers and transform responses to this issue.
We wanted to offer a space where representatives from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), UK Finance, Money Advice Plus, banks, building societies and women’s charities could come together to discuss the great work already being done in the financial sector and what further progress could made in implementing UK Finance’s new voluntary code of practice launched in October 2018.
The event was chaired by SEA trustee and financial expert, Sue Lewis, who welcomed Norm, before going on to facilitate two inspiring panels of speakers throughout the day. Speakers on the two panels included:
Banking panel: Lisa King (Refuge); Lesley McPherson (Cooperative Bank); Iris Kapelouzou (UK Finance); Martin King (Lloyds Banking Group); and Caroline Mitchell (Financial Ombudsman)
Women’s sector panel: Sian Hawkins (Women’s Aid), Nicole Jacobs (Standing Together Against Domestic Violence); Karen Perrier and Jeanette Hope (Money Advice Plus); Nicola Sharp-Jeffs (SEA) and Gudrun Burnet (Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance).
Throughout the day, six women from SEA’s Experts By Experience Group shared their own stories of economic abuse – poignantly demonstrating how this issue affects women every day.
At the event SEA also announced the launch of a best practice award encouraging banks and building societies to be ambitious in their approach to economic abuse and to recognise their efforts. The award winners will be chosen by a panel of expert judges, led by freelance financial journalist, Paul Lewis. The panel will also include Sarah Pennells (Savvy Woman), Jessamy Gould (Treebeard Foundation), Karen Perrier (Money Advice Plus), Marisa Bate (writer and advocate for women’s rights), Dr Olumide Adisa (Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Suffolk), Sue Lewis (SEA Trustee) and Ali (SEA Expert by Experience Group member).
It was a hugely successful event and we are incredibly grateful and inspired by all the speakers who shared their time and expertise, the Experts by Experience who bravely shared their stories and the delegates who were engaged and eager to learn from those in the room.
Norm Kalkovski said: “For me, the conference was a highlight. I left convinced that the wheels are definitely in motion for some significant strides forward for you in the UK.”
And as one person said on Twitter: “After listening to Norm Kalcovski from NAB I’m so tempted to emigrate to Australia – genuinely inspiring individual from the financial sector!”
With a huge thanks to Treebeard, who sponsored the event, and Salesforce, who hosted.