The Junta de Andalucía's Ministry of Equality and Social Policies and a number of banking groups have signed a collaborative framework agreement to improve services for the elderly and reduce the digital divide faced by this age group in the region.
A statement from the regional government said, "we understand that it is our responsibility to take action to tackle problems faced by our elderly people when it comes to the financial field, and these agreements are a good example of how we can promote helpful measures and procedures for the elderly.”
Talks began in June 2021 and now agreements have been signed by Caja Rural del Sur, Cajasur Kutxabank, Unicaja, Banco Santander, Caixabank, Ibercaja and Banco Sabadell, along with the Seville office of the Bank of Spain, to support the work of the Ministry to address the difficulties accessing different banking procedures that users over 65 years of age have.
“These days, age is an obstacle an the increasingly digitised society. Some people require more knowledge in this field. We also cannot forget that the ageism is also a type of discrimination that any government must combat”, said the regional minister Rocío Ruiz.
Ruiz highlighted "the sensitivity" that banks should have when seeking initiatives to improve and provide preferential care to the elderly, who in 2021 represented 21.93% of the Andalusian population over 18 years of age and will reach 36% in 2040.
"This is a future challenge, and because of that it is urgent that both public administrations and institutions and society in general begin work as soon as possible to meet these demands," insisted the minister.
The agreement with the financial entities acknowledges that the digitisation process has generated a gap that makes it difficult for older people to access certain procedures, making it important to offer individualised solutions that combine face-to-face attention and training.
The training process will be carried out in Active Participation Centres (CPA), with over 460,000 people associated throughout the region, as well as in residential centres for the elderly managed by the Junta de Andalucía. Educational material from the banks will be used that comply with the Code of Good Practice drawn up by the Bank of Spain and the National Securities Market Commission.
The banks will also implement procedures to preserve permanent personal assistance and develop ways of communication adapted to their older clients. They may also collaborate to find ways to facilitate universal access to cash, regardless of where the csutomer lives.
Ruiz pointed out that similar initiatives have already been carried out together with the Digital Agency of Andalucía (ADA), an example of this being the technological application recently developed by Caja Rural del Sur and Vodafone to bring bank branches closer to rural areas through remote personal attention.
The agreements signed with the banking entities are part of the first Comprehensive Strategic Plan for the Elderly 2020-2023. An initiative that comes "20 years after the law demanded it", Ruiz stated, and promised 164 million euros "to create policies that allow our elderly to continue being a social asset, continue to participate fully in life and have quality public resources.”