Never too old to learn

When you have gone to the same bank branch for a lifetime, it can be quite unsettling when the bank closes down 'your branch' for good. But this is also the perfect moment to discover the convenience of Internet banking. After all, what could be more comfortable than the bank coming to you, right at home, when you need it?

Rabobank Utrecht helps senior citizens with online banking

'There are so many things that you don't need to go to a branch for at all any more,' says Esther Vinke, Senior Citizen Advisor at Rabobank Utrecht. 'Most customers know this, but there are a lot of older people who have trouble with it because they're not on the Internet. That's why we offer one-on-one courses to help them get started with Internet banking. They don't even need any experience with computers at all, we start from square one. It's so important that the customer experiences how convenient Internet banking is.'

Banking independently in the golden years

Along with the individual courses, Rabobank Utrecht also hosts group events to help the elderly keep doing their own banking. 'The over-70s really love these,’ says Vinke. 'Any senior is welcome at these events, even if they have no experience with computers or mobile devices at all. At these events they learn about computer courses, safe Internet banking, the Rabo Banking App and the convenience of online services. You really see after a session like this that the participants get excited about Internet banking, and they often sign up for a course right away.'

House calls

Rabobank Utrecht also works with Klikstart, the foundation encouraging young people to tutor older people in using computers. 'For seniors with no computer experience, this is wonderful,' says Vinke. 'And we can pick up where their last lesson left off, and explain about safe banking and banking online.'

In some cases, the bank even visits the customer at home to handle certain issues. 'We can take care of a lot of things at the customer's home,' says Vinke. 'If the customer has to take two buses to come in and sign a contract or to unblock their bank pass, we really don't want to say "You have to come in to the bank." Then we go to the customer and take care of their banking needs there. In a way, it's moving the bank branch to the customer's home to take care of it.'

Fighting scams

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to helping older customers is the risk of scams. Vinke explains: 'We have close contact with the care workers at the national advice and support centre for domestic violence and exploitation. They see a lot of older people. We exchange knowledge with them, which they can use to help seniors, such as tips on how to recognise financial scams.'

Senior event, Utrecht, 26 August 2015