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  Alison Taylor

  CEO, CAF Bank

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COVID-19 UPDATE FROM CAF BANK'S CEO

23 March 2020

I recognise that these are unprecedented and exceptionally challenging times for all of us working in and with charities. We know that some organisations are on the front line of the fight, many are supporting, whilst others have had much anticipated events cancelled and fundraising income impacted.

MAINTAINING SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS

CAF Bank, along with our colleagues in CAF, is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to ensure we take the necessary steps to maintain our service to customers and to protect our colleagues. CAF Bank services remain fully operational and our team, many of whom you will have talked to on the phone, are working across different settings to maintain them.

Ensuring continuity of service is our priority: we have comprehensive plans in place and will continue to do everything we can to operate as normal. We know that with so many people across the UK working from home, mobile networks have been under strain and there have been delays to secure code delivery that are beyond our control. This has resulted in a ten-fold increase to call volumes to our Customer Service Team and I would be most grateful for your patience with our hard-working staff during this time.

I am acutely aware that many of our customers will feel concerned about how the situation might develop and the possible impact it may have. Please contact us at cafbank@cafonline.org if you feel that we may be of assistance. For those to whom we already provide loans, our relationship management team is getting in touch to see what support we can offer, including a six-month capital repayment holiday if that would be beneficial.

FRAUD PROTECTION

Unfortunately, there will always be those who seek to take advantage of difficult times and so I need to highlight that there is an increasing threat from criminals using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to scam customers.  Please take care to follow our anti-fraud advice, importantly:

  1. Do not click on links or attachments until you have validated the source of an email or text message;
  2. Do not respond to unsolicited telephone calls or messages. If we call you, please feel free to call us back on our published numbers;
  3. Do not disclose your personal or financial details; and,
  4. Remember we will never ask you to move your money to a safe account.

GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT

We are working closely with our parent charity, CAF, to raise awareness of where charities can find guidance and how people and organisations can support communities severely impacted by the pandemic:

  • Guidance for charitiesThe Charity Commission and OSCR have updated their guidance for charities at this time. NCVOSCVO and the Charity Tax Group have set up dedicated information hubs highlighting support available for the sector and practical steps for charities to consider;
  • Coronavirus Appeal – The National Emergencies Trust (NET), in partnership with the British Red Cross, has launched a fundraising appeal to help those most affected by the outbreak;
  • Martin Lewis has launched a separate £1m fund for small frontline charities working on the impact of COVID-19. Applications closed at 11.59pm on Wednesday 25 March 2020;
  • Worldwide COVID-19 Fund – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a fund through which individuals and organisations can support at-risk communities;
  • Informal groups – There are a number of helpful informal groups to be found on social media. As always, please check the information, but these can offer real help and ways to connect with other charities; and,
  • CAF is working to develop a specific small grants fund. We are finalising the details and will be able to confirm more information this week (ie week commencing 23 March 2020). Please follow us on Twitter @CAF in order to find out at the earliest possible point when the fund is launched.

UNDERSTANDING RESPONSES NEEDED

Our research colleagues at CAF are carrying out a series of single-question surveys* among charities, to take the pulse of the sector and help inform government policy. You can take part in the latest survey by clicking here. I know that many of us will be focussed on our core functions at the moment, but this research helps us all understand what responses are needed.

And finally, the UK’s response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly, as is our own. We're working hard to support our customers at this difficult time. We will keep you updated with developments that may affect you, but in the meantime, may I just thank you personally for what you have done, what you are doing and what I know you will continue to do. I know that our clients and the UK charitable sector generally will be massively important to both the initial response and the work which will inevitably come after the pandemic.

With best wishes,

Alison

 

* This survey is being run in accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct and the information collected will be treated in confidence and will not be presented in a way which could identify the responses of particular individuals or organisations.  If you have any queries or problems completing the survey, or would like to withdraw your responses from our research, please contact research@cafonline.org

CAF Bank Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register number: 204451).

CAF Bank Limited Registered office is 25 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4JQ. Registered in England and Wales under number 1837656.


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25 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4TA
10 St. Bride Street, London EC4A 4AD
Telephone: 03000 123 000