Special Issue: Consumer vulnerability in the banking context

Guest Editors

Diego Monferrer Tirado, Universitat Jaume I, Spain.
Miguel Ángel Moliner Tena, Universitat Jaume I, Spain. 



According to the FCA UK definition, “A vulnerable customer is someone who, due to their personal circumstance, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.” A wide range of circumstances can lead to a customer becoming vulnerable: 
  • Capacity: customers with scant knowledge of the financial sector or who place little trust in money management. Also, those with a low capacity in other relevant areas such as literacy or digital skills.
  • Resilience: customers with a low capacity to bear financial or emotional shocks.
  • Health: customers with health problems or illnesses that affect their capacity to carry out everyday tasks.
  • Life events: customers who have experienced important life events, such as bereavement, job loss or a breakup.
In this regard, we can all become vulnerable at any time, something that became highly apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic, which highlighted the circumstances of vulnerability. Vulnerable customers can have additional or different needs from the general population and can be less capable or willing to take decisions or represent their own interests. This places considerable pressure on systems currently in place for managing customers with financial difficulties and on the level of resources needed to attend to them adequately. In these circumstances, it is vital that banks endeavour to incorporate considerations of vulnerability in everything they do, whether designing products, communications, inclusive treatment or channels, in order to guarantee suitable levels of attention.
Thus, banks are expected to provide customers with a level of commercial attention that is appropriate and fair, given the characteristics of these customers. To that end, they must fully understand the characteristics of vulnerability of their target market and their main customer base.

Generally speaking, banking services providers should evolve towards a transformative perspective when assuming their functions, whereby the fair treatment of vulnerable customers is fully integrated into corporate culture across departments. And the fact is that the benefits for businesses that identify vulnerable customers and take care of them extend far beyond mitigating risk.

 Employees prefer to work for organisations that treat their customers well. There are also sales opportunities when businesses design more flexible products for more people.
At present, there is a clear opportunity for banks to better serve the vulnerable segment of their customer databases. But how can they do that? This special issue aims to be a call for new in-depth studies into consumer vulnerability in the banking sector, from a two-fold approach.

Firstly, from a perspective that focuses on banking practices for these customers (both to attempt early identification of customer vulnerability and the ensuing implementation of responsible actions, and to reduce potential financial abuse by marketers). And secondly, from a perspective centred on customers’ perceptions of these practices, which will have a decisive impact on their relational and emotional attitudes towards them (confidence, engagement, loyalty, emotions, word of mouth, etc.). 

List of topic areas:

The Guest Editors welcomed any quantitative, qualitative, conceptual, or methodological contribution that offer insight into this area. This special issue's topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: 
  1. Vulnerable customer (capacity, resilience, health, life events).
  2. Harmful effects of misbehaviour by bank marketers.
  3. Consumer deception.
  4. Consumer decision making and service experience.
  5. Segmenting vulnerable customers.
  6. Transformative service culture.
  7. CSR practices.
  8. Relational quality (trust, engagement, loyalty, WOM, emotions).
  9. Adaptative marketing (services/products design, channels, communication).
  10. Regulations affecting financial services marketing based on vulnerability.

Submissions Information:

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at: Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see: Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines:

Opening date: 15th of September 2022
Closing date: 15th of March 2023    

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