The first line in this Wall Street Journal article titled Beyond Estate Planning: Bankers Tackle Elder Care says it all:
"If you are looking for help caring for an older family member, you might try giving your banker a call."Many private banks and trust companies are introducing services to help older clients (or parents of younger clients) sort out medical bills, hire in-home care or even manage the sale of a home. Sometimes the bank charges an additional fee for such services; in other cases, they are included in the asset-management or trust fees families already pay.
Banks, and the financial services sector, were pioneers in bringing work-life or family friendly benefits to employees in the 1980s. The reason? Demographics and Money. What else? Banks tend to employ large numbers of female employees and as record numbers of women re-entered the workforce in the 1980's banks were quick to realize that importance of child care benefits in recruitment and retention.
So it is not surprising that banks are the early adopters for elder care benefits. What is surprising is they are now using them not just to retain employees but customers!
Smart move. Really smart move.
"This is not just a matter of revenue. This is a matter of developing an intimate, trusted relationship with the client," says Joseph Coughlin, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab.
- Wells Fargo's private-bank Elder Services program provides help to older clients and their caregivers.
- Merrill Lynch's family-office group offers "Stand Ready", which helps clients organize all the details of their lives in case they suddenly become incapacitated.
- Bessemer Trust offers "health advisory" services.
- Northern Trust has beefed up its training in the family dynamics involved in long-distance caregiving.
- Broadspire Care Management, which contracts with bank trust departments and wealth-management firms to provide geriatric-care management, says it has seen referrals rise 10% to 12% a year for the past three years.
Check out the article for more details.
Labels: Elder Care, employee assistance programs, Employee Benefits, Work Life