28 May 2021

On Friday 21st May, Lloyds Bank Branch Manager Jamie Preston, and Senior Branch Manager Ken Plumpton, along with Crewe and Nantwich MP Kieran Mullan, visited YMCA Crewe.

They were visiting to meet some of our residents, and listen to their experiences with opening bank accounts.

In particular they were interested in hearing more about how our residents have been able to overcome the challenge of not having photo ID, with the help of Lloyds Customer Service Assistant, and YMCA Crewe Volunteer, Gillian Thompson.

Many of the individuals who come to stay at YMCA Crewe do not have a bank account. Often this can be because they may not have any formal ID, such as a passport or driving licence, or the ID they do have has expired, and they do not have the funds available to replace it.

Not having a bank account can leave them with no option but to have benefit claims paid into someone else’s account leaving them vulnerable to fraud or financial abuse. A personal bank account is also a fundamental part of building independence as it enables you to learn budgeting skills, manage standing orders and direct debits, and build up a healthy credit rating. In addition, in the last 12 months, with many businesses only accepting contactless payments, we have all seen the limitations of being solely reliant on cash.

YMCA Crewe volunteer Gillian saw the number of residents unable to open a bank account because of a lack of approved identification. She introduced the idea of using an approved letter of authorisation, provided by YMCA Crewe, and accepted by the bank, that would act as ID in place of a passport or driving licence. Gillian also provided support through the application process, providing advice when needed.

With so many YMCA Crewe residents now able to open a bank account, the Lloyds branch manager began to notice the number of new customers all with Gresty Road as their place of residence. Gillian’s work supported their aim to improve accessibility to bank accounts, and they are keen to help other charities to adopt a similar system.

The visit was a great opportunity to draw attention to just one of the obstacles YMCA Crewe residents can face as they progress to living independently, and how something as seemingly small as an authorised letter can make a huge difference.

If you would like to find out more about the process, please email admin@ymcacrewe.org.uk.