Is yours the worst bank in Britain?

There are few titles so hotly contested. The banks are lining up for this honour, pulling out all the stops in order to deliver truly appalling service and fall short of even the very low standards we expect of them.

However, there is one clear winner in the latest battle to be the worst bank in Britain. So who is the lowest of the low, and how did they earn this title?

Santander is worst
The Moneywise Customer Service awards have identified a runaway winner - Santander. The awards surveyed 12,000 people about their experiences and an astonishing 40% of those reporting bad service focused on Santander. Second place went to Barclays with 11% and third place to Halifax with 9%.

This will come as no surprise to long-suffering customers who have had to deal with multiple failures from the fast-expanding bank. Some have argued that it was their acquisitions spree between 2004 and 2008 that kicked off the problems, as the bank simply couldn't cope with the rate they were snapping up banks and building societies. That would certainly seem to be the case if these awards are anything to go by - as Santander has taken this title every year since.

Among the most common complaints were long queues in branches, unhelpful call centres and untrained staff. Santander has pledged to put things right and apologised unreservedly.

Time to move?
However, for some customers this award may well be the final straw that persuades them to find a new home for their money. The awards for best customer service have yet to be announced. However, it may be worth taking a look at those who are shortlisted for most trusted current account provider: Clydesdale Bank, The Co-operative Bank, First Direct, Nationwide Building Society, Smile and Yorkshire Bank.

There is only one warning if you do move. After 15 years of loathing, I left Lloyds for First Direct last year. The process was seamless and well organised. I was even paid £100 for my trouble. The call centres were well-informed, helpful and understanding. They dealt with requests without responding as if I had asked for the moon on a stick, and the computer never ever said no.

So what's the warning? I was absolutely furious with myself for having put up with terrible service for so long. And the longer you leave it, the more you're going to be angry with yourself for not making a move more quickly.

But what do you think of your bank? Are these awards right, or is your bank worse? Let us know in the comments.

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