Financial wellbeing is not about the size of your pot of money; it’s what you do with it

Financial Wellbeing is about making sure you can cover day-to-day expenses, plan for the future and cope with the unexpected, enabling you to do the most with what you have.

At Bank of Ireland, we launched our Financial Wellbeing programme in March 2019 to support consumer capability and confidence when it comes to their personal finances.

‘63% of UK adults do not feel they can determine what happens in their lives when it comes to money and 61% do not focus on the long term when it comes to money.’
Money and Pension Service Financial Capability Survey 2018.

Similar to the impact of the global financial crisis in 2008, customer attitudes to finances are likely to shift on the back of COVID-19. Financial Wellbeing is at the heart of Bank of Ireland’s drive to help the Irish Economy get back on its feet.

As the crisis hit, we put in place multiple ways to support our customers, including payment breaks, waiving fees and measures aimed at assisting vulnerable customers through this emergency. As the country starts to recover, supporting our personal and business customers to rebuild is our key focus and The Bank expects to see more consumers engaging as they work to improve or better manage their financial wellbeing.

In June, just as we emerged from the restrictions, The Bank and Red C conducted research into people’s worries and concerns. Contracting COVID-19, health and the economy were the top three answers; personal Financial Wellbeing was number 4! Ahead of employment, mental health, Brexit etc. For Bank of Ireland, supporting our customers to manage and even improve their own Financial Wellbeing is more critical now than ever.

The Bank has always recognised the importance of Colleague Wellbeing, but has been even more astute during these times. The Bank launched a 10-week Staying Healthy Together Programme in early April, with the key aims of supporting colleagues across three pillars – financial, mental and physical wellbeing. Led by wellbeing and fitness expert Karl Henry, colleagues were set challenges across the three pillars. Hints and tips were shared and wellbeing experts were interviewed via online seminars. This easily accessible programme provided extensive user-friendly wellbeing content, fitness classes with top trainers, mental health webinars, a Family & Finance planning series, and dedicated 1:1 resources for colleagues and their extended families.

In April, proudly, Bank of Ireland Group announced that it was donating €1 million in emergency funding to communities across the island of Ireland with urgent needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In partnership with The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, The Bank fast tracked half of the fund to 13 chosen organisations who were providing support in direct response to the COVID crisis across all sections of society.

The remainder of the fund was donated to The Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s COVID-19 Funds.

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland received circa £135,000, with more than £90,000 going to its CV19 Emergency Fund, and £45,000 shared evenly between Aware Northern Ireland and Cruse Bereavement Care NI.

In addition to this, Bank of Ireland UK pledged c. £75,000 from its UK Community Giving Fund which was distributed to the emergency response funds of Quartet Community Foundation in Bristol, the Community Foundation in London, and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland.

The Begin Together fund was launched by The Group in April. This fund aims to support new and existing project-based activities with grants of up to £5,000 for local, not-for-profit groups working to improve the financial physical and/or mental wellbeing of the communities they serve across all counties on the island of Ireland. To further support colleagues and their local communities, Bank of Ireland also launched the Begin Together Fund for Colleagues. Colleagues could apply for funding to support charities and community groups across Ireland and the UK that they work with personally, giving our teams a chance to support the groups most in need.

The Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Arts & Business Northern Ireland and Business to Arts in Ireland, was launched on the 21 September 2020. The Fund will distribute a total of £840,000 between 2020 and 2022 and is designed to support artists and arts projects across the island of Ireland.

All of the above was in addition to The Bank providing additional 8,300 funding supports for business customers in NI since mid-March.

For further information on the Bank of Ireland Financial Wellbeing programme, please visit www.bankofirelanduk.com/personal/financial-wellbeing.

The Bank of Ireland Financial Wellbeing team offers a range of talks, clinics and Financial Wellbeing webinars to your colleagues and staff across NI. The Financial Wellbeing programme can further enhance your existing colleague wellbeing activity. For further information, please email financialwellbeingni@boi.com.