Case Study > Westpac + LanguageLoop
“We’re committed to improving access to banking for everyone in Aotearoa.”
Helen Ryder, Westpac General Manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth

LanguageLoop Case Study




Westpac NZ Launches Interpreting Service to Support Customers

Westpac NZ is the first bank in New Zealand to introduce the LanguageLoop interpreting service, enabling its employees to support customers in more than 190 languages.

Helen Ryder, Westpac General Manager of Consumer Banking & Wealth, says the service complements the help the bank already provides.

“We’re really lucky that many of our people are multilingual – more than 50 languages are spoken by employees throughout the bank. We regularly see those with language skills jumping in to support our frontline staff who need assistance with interpreting for a customer.”

“However, we want to make sure we’re able to support customers with as many languages as possible, as quickly as possible – partnering with LanguageLoop gives us that confidence in the service we’re providing,” Ms Ryder says.

If a customer calls Westpac and seems to be having difficulties using English, the employee they’re talking to can quickly dial in an interpreter. Similarly, if a query comes in via email and the customer isn’t confident using English, Westpac employees can offer to call them with an interpreter. Support in branch is also available, with employees able to call interpreters when required. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and calls are answered within 1 minute.

Westpac piloted the interpreting service last year, and Ms Ryder says feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve seen examples of our people connecting with interpreters to talk customers through everything from setting up a bank account to dealing with the complexities of a deceased estate. Engaging an interpreter through LanguageLoop is a very straightforward, simple process which is great for everyone involved.”

Languages that LanguageLoop can help with include Samoan, Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi and many others – more than 190 languages are supported.

“We want to make sure customers are aware that we can support them in a huge range of languages so that they don’t feel any hesitation about connecting with us. Our bankers have all been provided with information about the service so that they’re able to quickly connect with LanguageLoop as soon as it becomes apparent that assistance is required,” Ms Ryder says.

The Westpac NZ Access to Banking in Aotearoa Report, released last year, investigated the barriers to obtaining a bank account in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as the impact of being excluded.

One group identified by the report was people who are unable to understand and/or speak English fluently, and who therefore can’t engage in the services that are available to them.

“Making sure everyone in our communities can understand the banking products and tools we have available and how they can access them is really important,” Ms Ryder says.

Westpac has a dedicated Westpac Extra Care team who work to support customers going through tough times or who are in vulnerable circumstances, aiming to make the bank’s processes and services more inclusive.

The introduction of the interpreting service is the latest initiative in Westpac’s Extra Care programme of work. Last month, Westpac NZ updated its bankruptcy policy to improve access to basic banking services for Kiwis going through tough times. The bank has also worked with the Department of Corrections to make it possible for prisoners nearing their release date to open bank accounts, as well as partnered with Oranga Tamariki and advocacy organisation VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai to help young people in state care to get a bank account and access financial education.

“These might all seem like small things, but they’re things that can make a real difference for people who are having difficulty accessing banking services,” Ms Ryder says. “We’re committed to improving access to banking in Aotearoa.”  

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