Bank customers value service over rates

Candy Bellinger

With the recession continuing to bite and confidence in the banks at an all time low, it will come as no surprise that many customers are switching service providers. But according to the results of a new survey, service is higher on our list of priorities than rates when it comes to banking. In fact, 21 per cent of those polled said they had changed bank during the past two years due to bad customer service.

Top banking searches:

  1. Branch banking

  2. Lloyds

  3. Barclays home banking

  4. Phone bank

  5. High street bank

  6. Compare bank accounts UK

  7. Bank branch locator

  8. Banking customer service

  9. Bank website

  10. Natwest

The news comes just as Alistair Darling is set to announce the break up of Lloyds Banking Group in a bid to boost competition within the banking sector. The survey, conducted by business advice group Deloitte, also revealed that 66 per cent hold a current account with the bank that provides the best service, compared with only 30 per cent opting for the highest interest rate offered.

Face-to-face advice and access to a local branch were also important to consumers, despite online and telephone banking being offered by the majority of banks. Over half of people said they would only open a savings account with a bank that they could visit, while 65 per cent were persuaded to take out a mortgage after speaking face-to-face with an advisor. Six out of 10 people confirmed that they were more likely to bank with those that had branches opening at weekends and during the evening.

Neil Tomlinson, head of retail banking consulting at Deloitte, said: "The importance of branches in the banking sector must not be underestimated. Branches remain the primary channel through which banks interact with many of their customers and any businesses considering expanding their remit to include banking services will need to incorporate a branch network."

Have you changed banks because of poor customer service? Or is it the best interest rates that you look for? Tell us about it by leaving a comment.