Banking on change

Money worries should be the last thing on your mind when you’re dealing with cancer. We want to make sure the banking sector plays its part in helping vulnerable customers when they need it most.

Most people with cancer don’t tell their bank about their diagnosis, and many who do don’t get the support they need. Without the right support, the financial shock of cancer can turn into a crisis.

We want banks and building societies to help their customers manage the cost of cancer.

  • The banking sector has a vital role to play; its huge reach presents a unique opportunity to help people deal with the financial impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment. 
  • A legal duty of care would give customers with cancer the confidence to seek help from their bank, knowing they’ll get tailored support to meet their needs.
  • It would also give banks guidance on what support to provide, and help ensure consistency, regardless of who people bank with.

Close up of a woman's face looking into the distance with her fingers to her lips. Text: Christine's story about the financial impact of cancer. More info

Christine's story

'I was battling my bank as well as cancer. I'm a typical example of someone with a non-aggressive cancer. That means after a certain period I could get back to work and function again, but the effect of cancer upon my finances was a very slow kind of drip, drip effect. I didn’t need that extra stress – my focus should’ve been on my recovery.

You're just trying to be brave and cope with it. You need everyone, including your bank, to be supportive.'

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Our campaign is making a difference

Since launching the campaign in November 2017:

  • more than 20,000 people signed Macmillan Nurse Miranda’s letter to UK Finance, calling for banks to have a legal duty of care to their customers
  • following contact from Macmillan supporters, a number of MPs raised the need for banks to have a duty of care to their customers with the Minister and in Parliament
  • the regulator of financial services firms, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), agreed to publish a Discussion Paper on the merits of a duty of care by the end of this year
  • Macmillan was praised in Parliament by the Minister, for running ‘an excellent campaign’.

What more can be done?

Everyone’s got a part to play in making sure the financial shock of cancer doesn’t turn into a crisis.

What can the Government do?

The regulator of financial services firms (the Financial Conduct Authority) has committed to publishing a Discussion Paper on the introduction of a duty of care by the end of this year. Although this is a great step forward, there is still a risk of unnecessary delays to its introduction unless the Government take action.

We’re calling on the Government to set out how they will ensure a duty of care is introduced as soon as possible following this consultation.

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What is Macmillan doing?

While there has been progress in the sector – some as a result of Macmillan’s work with partners such as Nationwide Building Society and Lloyds Banking Group – Macmillan’s research shows that too many people with cancer still aren’t getting the help they need from their bank to manage their finances when they are ill.

We'll be working to make sure the voices of people with cancer are represented in the FCA's upcoming Discussion Paper on a duty of care.

Macmillan’s ‘Make money one less worry’ campaign also aims to make sure that people know about the financial impact of cancer and can access the support they need from financial services providers, the NHS, Governments and beyond.

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What can banks do?

Banks and building societies should help their customers to manage short periods of financial difficulty.

For example, banks can offer short-term measures such as:

  • flexibility on mortgage payments
  • interest freezes on credit cards or loans
  • ensure customers are signposted to financial help early.

This way, they can help people to manage the financial impact of cancer and prevent money worries from spiralling out of control.

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What can UK Finance do?

UK Finance is a body that represents nearly 300 firms providing banking and financial services. We’re calling on them to support our campaign for organisations in the banking sector to have a legal duty of care towards their customers.

The duty would apply to all customers, but we believe it would be particularly beneficial for people who are at risk of financial difficulties due to illness or disability.

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Sign up as an e-campaigner

Get involved

We want everyone with cancer to receive the right level of treatment and support, regardless of who they are and where they live. Signing up as an e-campaigner is just one way you can help.

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