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Smaller banks make mark in satisfaction stakes

Smaller banks make mark in satisfaction stakes

Category: Banking

Updated: 14/12/2012
First Published: 14/09/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Smaller banks and building societies in the UK are providing greater customer satisfaction than the high street banking giants, new research has revealed.

In fact, the UK 's largest high street banks have been revealed to be amongst the worst for customer satisfaction by a new report from Which?.

None of the biggest five high street banks:

  • Lloyds Banking Group,
  • Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest,
  • Barclays,
  • Santander and
  • HSBC,
featured in the top 15 of the 28 banks and building societies rated by Which? members in terms of satisfaction across current accounts, mortgages, savings accounts and credit cards.

The online bank first direct came top in terms of customer score with an overall rating of 84%.

This was followed by The Co-operative Bank (79%), The One Account (79%), Smile (77%) and Yorkshire Building Society (71%).

The findings of the research certainly seemed to suggest that banks' ability to keep their customers happy is not reflected by their share of the market.

Indeed, the four banks with the highest customer scores for current accounts were found to control just 6% of the current account market, while the four with the lowest scores control 38%.

The research comes just a few days after the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) said it wants to improve competition in the banking industry.

Calling for more to be done to make things clearer for consumers, Which? said the lack of transparency and complexity of different charging structures make it difficult for people to understand how much they are paying for their account and whether another bank offers a better deal.

"The ICB has acknowledged that the market isn't competitive and consumers are infuriated by poor service," said Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary–Smith.

"The Government must be clear how it will create more competition when it sells our stakes in Lloyds, RBS and Northern Rock. The industry must be referred to the Competition Commission if the market doesn't improve.

"The high street is dominated by banks that have a shocking record for customer satisfaction – what more proof do we need that the market isn't working?

"We will only have a truly competitive market when banks are made to face up to a simple choice - either look after your customers or be prepared to lose them."

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