UK retail bank NatWest in collaboration with GamCare is set to trial a ‘ground-breaking’ pilot scheme offering counselling sessions to vulnerable/addicted customers inside its high-street branches.
NatWest is set to launch the GamCare pilot scheme across 13 branches based in London, the South East and Midlands of England.
The bank’s chosen outlets will allow any person to walk-in and book an appointment to see a GamCare counsellor.
Launching the scheme, NatWest details that it seeks to support UK health networks tackling addiction, utilising its high-street branches as a first point of contact for treatment support.
“Some customers might be uncomfortable going to an addiction centre,” said NatWest’s Head of Lending, Phil Sheehy. “This is an accessible and neutral environment.”
Should the scheme prove to be a success, NatWest may move to launch the directive across its 700 branches.
Mike Kenward, Development Director of GamCare, stated that the charity would further train NatWest staff to support customers who want help to stop betting. The bank is also offering separate specialist vulnerability training to 600 staff.
“The relationship between problem gambling and financial problems is well established, although not enough is known about it,” said Kenwood.
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture Media & Sports (DCMS), has detailed that her department are monitoring the scheme’s development closely.
Morgan praised NetWest’s initiative, stating that all businesses have to be socially aware of gambling harms, including banks and social media platforms.