NATWEST is planning to help 10 million people to manage their financial wellbeing every year by 2027, following data showing the scale of anxiety felt about personal finances.

Only one in five currently feel extremely or very satisfied with their current financial situation. The data was gathered through NatWest’s Digital Financial Health Checks showing a need among for financial wellbeing support. Almost half (49%) couldn't easily handle a large, unexpected cost right now (like a new boiler).

Supporting people with their financial wellbeing has never been more important with increases in the cost of living. Almost two thirds (64%) of respondents said the increased cost of living is impacting them1.

The bank aims to reach this target by the end of 2027 through digital tools and personalised engagements, such as financial health checks, and the recently extended Know Your Credit Score service now available to non-customers.

Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group, said: “Supporting people to manage their money and reach their financial goals is central to our Purpose. We recognise the important role we play in helping people build their financial capability, and this new targeted support will ensure that people, families and business, right across the country are given the tools to take control and start to thrive."

This work builds on the bank’s longstanding focus on financial wellbeing, and track record in helping people- the bank has recently reached a goal set in 2020 to help 2m people to save more than £100 for the first time, helping to build a savings habit and resilience for the future. Over 1.46m customers have signed up to save using round-ups since its launch and have saved almost £240m.

Through the cost of living, NatWest has been partnering with charities to help those most in need. NatWest set up the Circle Fund with domestic abuse charity SafeLives in 2020 with a donation of £1m and has now distributed funding through community based services to over 2600 people for crisis support and to aid safety and recovery. Grants have included support to families involving more than 1500 children.

Ellen Miller, Interim Chief Executive of SafeLives, said: “The Circle Fund has made a big impact on the lives of thousands of survivors of domestic abuse and their children right across the UK. The Fund has helped us to get support to where it’s needed most, via local domestic abuse services, 40% of which are small specialist organisations supporting marginalised communities.  It has given survivors freedom to rebuild their lives and it’s sobering that a relatively small sum of money can be life changing. “We’re delighted to have the support of NatWest, in helping people reach safety and live the lives they want after harm has happened.  Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and together we can make it stop.” 

Theodora Hadjimichael, CEO of Responsible Finance, said: "Every year, tens of thousands of people save money and avoid higher-cost and illegal lenders thanks to a Responsible Finance member. But community lenders can't offer credit to everyone who applies. The NatWest and Responsible Finance Hardship Grant programme is an exact fit with why we exist: to help households make their financial position stronger. Through this partnership, NatWest is demonstrating leadership and purpose in the financial sector and we are really pleased with the success of this programme. It is heart-rending to hear the challenges so many are going through but we are grateful that these small grants are having such an enormous impact in homes all over the UK."

In January this year NatWest Group distributed £900,000 to Responsible Finance to support Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in delivering small grants to individuals who can’t access lending. Over £245,000 has now been distributed to 2472 households/people. Around a quarter of those helped have been unemployed and three quarters earn less than £21K a year. Two thirds are single parents with children under 18.

In a targeted move to support those managing the change in the cost of living, the bank stopped all fees and charges for personal mortgage customers in persistent financial difficulty from the end of April 2023, when receiving help from its specialist Financial Health and Support teams. NatWest also has 130 trained facilitators ready to deliver workshops on money management and fraud awareness and intends to train more during 2023.

NatWest has provided £47.8 million of cost-of-living support since January 2022 to personal customers, through measures such as debt consolidation, fee capping and suppression of interest.

Of those customers previously identified as being either in food or fuel poverty at the end of last year, the bank has been in touch with almost 1 million of them to help support their financial wellbeing.