Protecting those that are Vulnerable
ASAG is dedicated in helping an increasing number of Australian seniors achieve financial peace of mind in retirement. We pride ourselves on our commitment to assist you in accessing equity in your biggest asset. ASAG aims to help you live a life of confidence and comfort, the life you have earned in retirement.
In providing our customers with financial tools, we have built our process to emphasize a great deal of importance in its responsibilities. Part of this is to establish awareness of possible vulnerability in our customers and make the appropriate action and support to lend responsibly. Our team is trained to handle with such situations by identifying key indicators through the process.
More Information on Identifying Vulnerable Customers
We understand that vulnerabilities may be either short or long term and that any one person can be vulnerable at some point in their life. As such, alongside responsible lending, ASAG has taken additional steps to ensure we are guaranteeing that the loan and its purpose suits and benefits the customer.
You can view our product safeguards by visiting the ASAG Safeguards link here to see an outline of these protections.
Vulnerabilities are often non-specific and may relate to a set of factors that ASAG has processes to identify. We do this using the framework of I-C-U (Information, Communication, Understanding).
Our application form is designed to collect all information from the applicant to ensure that we know exactly who we are talking to but also to provide as much information around ASAG and out products as possible in a variety of methods to ensure our messages are delivered.
As a non-negotiable ASAG will at all times require direct communication to the applicant. As we know quite well the demographic that requires ASAG services may also require support in the application process, it is still a requirement that we deal at times directly with the applicant ourselves.
We will take the required steps to ensure a complete understanding of the information supplied around the product. But ASAG also takes further steps in requiring all applicants to seek professional advice regarding the product before finalisation.
In situations where vulnerability is identified, we will handle it accordingly and make sure the customer is not being taken advantage of.
In case of a language barrier during the application process, an appropriate assistance will be offered from our network of mortgage brokers.
It also serves as a precautionary measure in detecting and preventing elder abuse.
? It’s for financial matters;
? The customer is not able to sign for themselves;
? The beneficiary of the funds is a nominated borrower; and
? The request has not been called back.
ASAG requires the solicitor to sign a letter of intent to confirm that an independent legal advice is involved. The same is required for financial advice.
This process takes place by conducting a private discussion directly with the customer.
Step 1 – Private Discussion
A private discussion is conducted with the customer only and handled by an ASAG team member. All points from the discussion regarding concerns are documented. Any ‘key indicators’ are noted regarding any third-party involvement.
Step 2 – Escalation
Proceeding Step 1, confirmed abuse cases will be escalated to senior management. At this point ASAG will:
– Delay any release of funds;
– Cease any approvals on the loan;
– Report any incidents to the authorities and request a visit from a police welfare if the customer cannot be contacted;
– Notify protection agencies such as Public Advocates i f there has been an abuse of Guardianship and Administration, or Power of Attorney;
– Request assistance from other family members or emergency contacts on file;
– Request a medical certificate confirming the capacity of the customer.
If a case of potential vulnerability is identified, a ‘care flag’ will be noted on our system to make sure the right approach will be taken.
Financial Abuse – Elder Assist
1800 ELDERHelp (1800 353 374).
Memory Loss – Dementia Australia
1800 100 500
Financial Difficulty – National Debt Helpline
1800 007 007
Crisis Support – Lifeline
13 11 14