The UK’s biggest high street banks and building societies have drawn up a new code of practice to offer greater help and support for bereaved families, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) has announced.
The Bereavement Principles have been developed for personal banking customers, to further assist families and relieve stress around alerting financial organisations to the death of a loved one by cutting bureaucracy and providing a more sensitive service.
The new code of six principles includes a commitment from banks and building societies to:
- Allow necessary payments from the deceased’s accounts to cover any funeral bill, probate fees, or inheritance tax.
- Improve empathy skills and knowledge training for staff.
- One-stop notification across products and within UK customer brands that enables a bank to notify its relevant brands about specific accounts and products under the deceased’s names, as requested by the notifier.
The code is set to come into force by the end of 2016.
BBA Bereavement working group chair, Mandy Griffin, from Nationwide Building Society, welcomed the changes:
“The new Bereavement Principles will give greater support to families at the most distressing time and make the process of notifying financial organisations of the death of a loved one much easier. Our aim is to make sure we deal sensitively with bereaved families and help them deal with the deceased's financial affairs as quickly as possible.”