Belinda Vogelvanger-Engwerda en Diana Huitema, adviseurs Particulieren bij Rabobank Klantenservice Particulieren in Leeuwarden
Our bank employs many people with a mission. They work hard for a better society and really know how to change things. Like Belinda Vogelvanger-Engwerda (52) and Diana Huitema (41). With their actions they help others. By collecting caps, crown caps and clothing themselves for charity, but also with the extensive Financial Health programme that helps customers to become or stay financially fit.
Diana: ‘All customers are equal, and they need to be helped just as well. Even if they don’t manage to get their finances in order. We like to make sure that our clients don’t worry about their finances.’ Belinda: ‘As bank employees, we work at the heart of society. That’s how we meet people who need help. It’s common sense to offer a helping hand’.
Belinda: ‘As a budget coach, Diana already helped clients with financial problems at our previous workplace in Sneek, by reviewing their finances together. This really has an effect on people: She met one of these clients after a year and told us that she had already saved two thousand euros. We had a feeling there could be more to this. Diana and colleagues from all departments had a brainstorm with Anna Schotanus from ‘Schulden de Baas’ about how we could help clients get financially fit. The result was the Financial Health Workgroup, of which I was also a member.
Diana: ‘We shared the solutions from our brainstorming sessions with our colleagues during workshops. Often with the help of people from, for example, the municipality, the Municipal Credit Bank and Schuldhulpmaatje. That was all in Sneek, the most effective result of the program in our current workplace is the referral list to institutions who can help with financial problems. Thanks to this list, every colleague can link a client directly to a specific employee of such an organization. This brings targeted solutions quickly into sight and lowers the threshold for customers to call for help. The list is now only available for Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. We hope that in time we will be able to implement it nationwide’.
Diana: ‘Thanks to the Financial Health program, we know very well how people can become or stay financially fit. That’s why we share three tips here:
- Ask the bank for help when you need to take care of your own banking affairs for yourself suddenly. For example, if you are start living on your own, after the death of a partner or a divorce.
- Simply list your income and expenses. In this way you can see where too much money might go out and where you can save. Someone from the bank can also help you with this.
- Don’t just apply for an overdraft. Talk to your bank, maybe there is another way to finance that expensive purchase or you can arrange a long-term debt in a different way’.
Belinda: ‘We also participated in the Preventative Management pilot. We approached customers whose loans had been running for more than five years and were still 95% open. Almost everyone was so happy and relieved that we called! They hadn’t dared to step into the bank themselves for a long time. Diana: ‘They were the most touching conversations I have ever had. We could really help these people to get financially fit.
Diana: ‘We don’t like to sit still. Right now we’re saving coffee points from colleagues and people in the neighbourhood have already delivered 120 packs of coffee for the food bank. And by saving plastic caps, we collected money for guide dogs. We do the same with crown caps for the Diabetes Fund. And among colleagues, we collected ten moving boxes of clothing for Dress for Success, the foundation that helps people on clothing benefits with their job applications. Belinda: ‘By living frugally ourselves, trading and thinking about someone else, we also make a difference in our private lives every day.