Newcastle Building Society has announced that is set to transform the way it helps customers in financial difficulty by launching a digital debt help service, with integrated Open Banking technology.

Newcastle Building Society’s new online facility, which has been developed by Paylink Solutions, will be available to customers of the Society who are facing financial difficulty, or for those who may need extra support in understanding their financial position before making arrangements to change mortgage payments. It is the first building society in the UK to introduce such a service.

The Society’s new digital tool will provide an accurate and quick alternative to lengthy conversations about a customer’s financial status. Customers will simply log in to the service, give their consent and bank name and have all of their spending and earnings aggregated within 20 seconds.

Less time will be spent by advisers collating information, which will increase the time they can spend outlining options and providing support; and where appropriate customers may be offered personalised debt advice.

Michael Conville, head of mortgage operations at Newcastle Building Society, said “Our Society’s mortgage arrears rates are well below the sector average, and when we receive calls from customers who are either approaching or are in some form of financial difficulty, we want to be able to do the best we can for them.  In instances like these, customers may be in a heightened state of stress and may be unsure about their financial situation.”

“Offering this digital service, which can quickly provide an accurate overview of income and expenditure utilising Open Banking, reduces the onus on the customer to provide this information. With the facts at our fingertips we can spend more time discussing how we can support customers.”

Susan Rann, CEO of Paylink solutions, said “This is the first digital debt advice journey we’ve developed for a building society, which has been designed to make the income and expenditure and debt referral processes as quick, accurate, convenient and secure as possible for customers.

“Integrating Paylink Solutions’ software allows customers to access debt advice instantly and means Newcastle Building Society can provide support to even more people who are facing financial challenges.”