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August 2, 2007

Which? survey embarrasses leading banks

by Gill Montia

Story link: Which? survey embarrasses leading banks

Which?, the consumer group, has published its ‘best buy’ survey of bank accounts, which did not feature accounts offered by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB or NatWest.

According to Which?, consumers borrowing and saving with the four leading banks are getting poor value interest rates combined with customer service that is below the standard of some smaller rivals.

Which? found that some Internet and telephone banks served their customers better whilst also offering higher interest rates.

Smile, the Co-op owned Internet bank, came top in the customer satisfaction stakes, with Cahoot, Intelligent Finance and First Direct also named as good performers.

Both Nationwide’s Flex Account and Alliance & Leicester’s Premier Direct account were rated highly.

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and NatWest were criticised for their derisory 0.1% rate of interest on most of their current accounts and were given only a two-star rating in terms of customer service

The results of the survey sit uneasily alongside Lloyds TSB’s announcement earlier this week of a 12% profit increase, to £1.99 billion, for the six months to the end of June. In the case of HSBC, profit for the half year-increased 13%, to £6.97bn.

Of the 4,600 consumers surveyed, 61% still bank with the big four and Which? believes that many have fears about the difficulties likely to be encountered when switching bank accounts.

According to the survey 72% of respondents who had switched found the process easy.

 

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