Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Britains Best/Worst Banks Now Revealed


A banking investigation has revealed the best and worst places to stash your cash in Britain - with thousands of customers ranking some of the UK's biggest high street names for satisfaction, service and even online banking.

For the third year in a row, Leeds-based First Direct - which does not feature on the high street - has been crowned the best of the rest - winning five awards in total including Best British Bank with a customer satisfaction rating of 95%.

The British Bank Awards, provided by consumer platform Smart Money People quizzed over 6,500 customers to reveal the firms Brits are banking on - and the ones they're avoiding, across topics from mortgages to loans and even savings.

As well as being named "Best Current Account Provider" for its popular 1st Account, First Direct also topped the list for "Best Customer Service", "Best Value for Money", and "Most Recommended Bank", implying its customers are some of the happiest in the market.

It's not great news for its parent company though - with HSBC, and its joint venture with M&S, M&S Bank - taking the bottom two spots in the UK survey.

Overall, customer satisfaction across banking has dropped from 82% to 80% in the past year.

Hundreds of branch closures - with HSBC shutting its doors the fastest - could partly be to blame for such dissatisfaction, along with dire savings rates which are increasingly backing customers into a poorly paid corner.

Smart Money People founder Mike Fotis said: "While some customers continue to see all banks as a bit boring and rather grey, it’s clear that the customer experience does vary significantly, but once again, no one comes close to toppling first direct.”

Following a turbulent few years, The Co-op Bank, which was put up for sale this week, comes in fifth place overall, demonstrating that its customers still value the customer service and products offered by this self-styled ethical bank.

Virgin Money entered the league table in third place with Best Credit Card Provider, and Nationwide Building Society in second place, crowned the nation's Best Mortgage Provider.

  1. First Direct, 95%
  2. Nationwide, 88.8%
  3. Virgin Money, 88.2%
  4. Halifax, 84.6%
  5. The Co-op Bank, 84%
  6. TSB, 82.6%
  7. NatWest, 82.2%
  8. Santander, 81.6%
  9. Barclays, 80.6%
  10. Lloyds Bank, 77.8%
  11. Tesco Bank, 77.8%
  12. RBS, 76.6%
  13. HSBC, 71.2%
  14. M&S Bank, 70.6%

Mike Fotis added: "Customers have been telling us that challenger banks aren’t always all they’re cracked-up to be, and seeing M&S Bank enter our league table in last place is a sign that more competition doesn’t always equal better customer outcomes.

"That said, we’re looking forward to seeing what the year ahead brings, when a rush of new banks like Atom Bank, Starling Bank and CivilisedBank start to really compete for our attention."

Joe Gordon, head of first direct, said: "At the heart of first direct is the belief that people matter more, so to be voted Best British Bank for the third year running means a lot to us.

"We know if we’re to help customers live their lives the way they want to live them, we need to keep on developing and evolving."

Bill Percy, customer experience director at Virgin Money, said: "Delivering great service for our customers is at the heart of Virgin Money’s approach to banking, and we’re delighted to receive this recognition for the strides we are making, particularly as it’s voted for by customers themselves."

As part of the voting process, some 84% of customers said that they now prefer banking online or via a mobile app, but poor functionality proves to be a significant source of frustration.

Natwest was crowned the best for online banking, thanks to its multi-functional app, while online personal finance app - Money Dashboard - which acts as an on-the-go personal money assistant, was crowned best app.

First Direct also won Best British Bank, Most Recommended Bank, Best Customer Service, Best Value for Money and Best Current Account Provider.

Virgin Money won Best Newcomer and Best Credit Card Provider, while Zopa came out on top for Best Alternative Finance Provider.

For businesses, Barclays has been voted the best place to manage your money, and for budding homeowners, Nationwide is the best for customer satisfaction whether you're buying or remortgaging.



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