Lloyds Bank International | Covid 19 Blog Series | August 2020

Today we hear from Chamber members, Lloyds Bank International, who from day 1 of lock down put the well being of their customers and employees first. With the Islands having been impacted differently and at differing stages of the pandemic it was key for Lloyds to keep a balanced approach and work together to find solutions to suit all.

Date: Friday 21 August 2020

Putting our customers and employees first through Covid-19

Today we hear from Chamber members, Lloyds Bank International, who from day 1 of lock down put the well being of their customers and employees first. With the Islands having been impacted differently and at differing stages of the pandemic it was key for Lloyds to keep a balanced approach and work together to find solutions to suit all.

Alasdair Gardner, Islands Director – Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets tells us;

Our focus on promoting the use of our Digital App over the last 24 months proved to be a great investment of our time with many customers already set up to transact online in the safety of their own homes without any issues. Our older – and often more vulnerable – customers needed our support most as they might have been less confident in the digital space whilst having to isolate. We responded by writing to every client aged 70 + confirming the launch of a dedicated helpline available through our IOM based Phonebank team. Branch employees also arranged a proactive calling programme to contact our vulnerable customers to support with access to essential banking with a real focus on just asking how they were and reducing their isolation, which was incredibly well received. In the early stages of the pandemic, we launched an exciting new partnership with We Are Digital to provide a digital helpline dedicated to those in our communities who have had to ‘self-isolate’. The digital helpline continues to provide free dedicated and bespoke digital skills training over the phone with friendly trainers. The trainers can assist our customers to access essential services online such as managing their money, ordering food shopping, making GP appointments and staying in touch with friends and family.

While shops and other businesses were required to close, we kept our branches open throughout the pandemic to support our customers’ essential banking needs. Our footfall dropped of course but many customers still chose to visit us for immediate and urgent needs.

Our customers who have borrowing with us were a real priority too, so supporting them with repayment holidays on business loans, mortgages, credit cards and personal loans was a major focus in the early part of lockdown, ahead of the launch of the various government schemes. Providing customers with the breathing space and re-assurance that we were there to help kept our relationship managers and mortgage team fully occupied. All of our team have had to adapt quickly to changes in processes and procedures to ensure that we continued to offer a seamless service and many of our transactions that traditionally would have required a face to face meeting were able to be completed remotely. Customer feedback has been amazing, with comments like ‘you have helped me sleep at night, a great weight off my mind – thank you’ very common and has shown us that how we have supported our customers has been valued greatly.

Our Commercial Team had to quickly get ready to operate the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to support our business customers. While the islands are small economies, the impact of Covid-19 was really felt, with governments working hard to protect and support local businesses and families. We are delighted that we have had the opportunity to work collaboratively with the government to help define the support schemes for businesses and work to help protect our Islanders’ livelihoods. We have also provided large liquidity funding lines to each of States of Jersey and States of Guernsey to support the Governments on each Island as they react to the economic impacts of Covid-19 on the public finances, with taxes lower than budgeted.

As a business we were able to learn so much from our employees around the world, many of whom were at different stages of the pandemic. Sharing learnings, empowering our teams to work together to find solutions not only got us to the end result faster but improved engagement enormously.

We mobilised our teams to work from home very quickly, with only those employees essential to business operations remaining in our offices. By way of example, across our entire business, in a matter of weeks we moved from having 15,000 employees able to work from home to 50,000, which has meant we have been able to support our customers’ increased needs uninterrupted The creation of a paperless office by our operations team has been a landmark achievement in order to facilitate

home working and is a key step towards improving a sustainable operating model. For branches, we had to balance the requirement to maintain enough customer-facing employees with the need to have sufficient people in reserve to take over if and when one of our team tested positive to ensure services were maintained for customers.

Working from home has proved a real life changer for many. There have been some very positive takeaways with many commenting on a massive improvement in their work life balance to those employees who found the challenge of working from home too difficult. For those who wanted and often needed to work from the office instead, we put in place a ‘Wellbeing Desk’ process that allowed them to return to the office. We have at all times ensured we balanced the needs of our customers with the needs of our employees and the team’s mental health has been a key consideration. A mental wellbeing resource, called Headspace, is now available free to any of our employees and this, together with detailed communications on how to access our in-house wellbeing support tools and helplines, has been of huge benefit to all our teams.

We’ve emerged from lockdown pan-Island as a stronger, more engaged team who are embracing new technology. We’re less focused on work location nowadays as our virtual meeting places have broken down these barriers and we find ourselves valuing and utilising each team member’s skillset regardless of their Island base and the ultimate beneficiaries of this, of course, are our customers. While so many people have suffered such tremendous loss and we are all only at the beginning of the journey to recovery, the way in which our teams have pulled together and supported our customers, just as the communities across the Islands have done, makes me optimistic for the future, both for the Islands as a whole and for their individual economies.