Current account customers leave big banks in droves

Current account customers have been leaving big High Street banks in droves in a search for more ethical financial service providers in the wake of so many of the problems recently plaguing the retail banking sector.

Consumers are looking for more ethical and customer-centric banking experiences, experts say, and with the Barclays rate-rigging scandal and the NatWest banking disruption still fresh in British consumers’ minds, many have decided to take action, moving their cash to smaller banking providers in the hopes that their experiences will be more positive. New upstart Metro Bank, which has built a reputation for itself as being customer centric, has revealed that the number of current accounts being taken up by its customers has risen by a third – a significant figure, considering that it was already adding around 1,000 new accounts on a weekly basis even before the NatWest and Barclays incidents, and providers such as the Ecology Bank and Charity Bank have seen their applications surge by 266 per cent and 200 per cent respectively.

The largest building society in the UK, Nationwide, has also been riding high.  The mutual has emerged unscathed since the banking crisis’ inception, and recently reported that applications for online banking accounts rose by an impressive 85 per cent.

RBS (which owns NatWest) and Barclays have indeed experienced what can only be called a mass exodus when it comes to its customer base. However, some high street banks have picked up some of this slack, with Halifax and Santander both announcing their application figures have increased; Santander in particular is noteworthy as its reputation for poor customer service from a few years ago has been nearly completely turned around due to massive efforts on the part of the Spain-based bank to reform its image.

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