New TSB bank website set to go live

Lloyds TSB signAlmost five million Lloyds customers who are being switched to TSB will get a further glimpse of their new bank this week when its website goes live.

The new TSB bank will appear on the high street from September 9 when Lloyds offloads 631 branches and eight million accounts to meet European competition rules.
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Under a £30 million rebranding campaign, the bank's new website - tsb.co.uk - will be up and running from Friday. TSB will offer the same products as Lloyds initially, with new deals expected later.

Customers will be able to use their existing passwords on the website but will not be able to log in until September 8, the day before the new TSB banks open their doors.

These customers were initially expecting to be transferred to the Co-operative Bank, but the deal collapsed earlier this year and Lloyds now plans to float the TSB business in mid 2014.

Consumers who are unhappy about making the move can have requests to stay with Lloyds granted - and 4,000 customers have done this.

However, 600 customers have made an unprompted decision that they want to move to TSB.

Despite TSB being trumpeted as "Britain's newest high street bank", the name, which is associated with encouraging the less well-off to put money aside, has a history going back 200 years. TSB disappeared from the high street as a standalone name in 1995 after merging with Lloyds.

Some early indications of how TSB intends to set out its stall suggest that the bank aims to combine a back-to-basics customer-centred ethos with an "appetite for change". TSB's chief executive Paul Pester previously led the team that created Virgin Money in the UK.

Some images of the new TSB logo, with three circles, each containing a letter and set on a blue background, have been released recently and are described as an "evolution" of TSB logos in the past. A bigger burst of publicity is expected next month.

The TSB bank will have around 8,000 members of staff, made up of those who are moving with the branches and new recruits.

A website set up to help TSB's recruitment drive describes the bank as "a fresh start" and says it aims to bring "new competition to the UK high street and greater choice for consumers".

The website says: "We'll have all the reassurance of scale and expertise that our customers rightly want from their bank, together with the passion and appetite for change our status as Britain's newest high street bank will offer."

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New TSB bank website set to go live

More than 46,000 of 106,000 the complaints received by the FOS in the second half of last year related to payment protection insurance (PPI). And the organisation is expecting to receive a record 165,000 PPI complaints in 2012/2013.

The huge numbers are due to the PPI mis-selling scandal that should now be a thing of the past, but there is no doubt that the insurance, which can add thousands to the cost of a loan, is highly unpopular!

(Pictured: Martin Lewis after the PPI payout ruling)

Complaints about mortgages jumped by 38% in the last six months of last year, the FOS figures show, compared to an increase of just 5% in investment-related complaints.

Common gripes about mortgages include the exit penalties imposed should you want to sell up or change you mortgage before a fixed or discounted deal comes to an end, and the high arrangement fees charged by many lenders.

While there is nothing in the data released by the FOS about the number of complaints relating to savings accounts, hard-pressed savers have been struggling with low interest rates for several years now.

You can get up to 3.10% with Santander's easy-access eSaver account, but many older accounts are paying 1.00% or less and even this market-leading offer includes a 12-month bonus of 2.60% - meaning that the rate will plummet to just 0.50% after the first year.

Banks are imposing the highest authorised overdraft interest rates since records began, with today's borrowers paying an average of 19.47%, according to the Bank of England.

A typical Briton with an overdraft of £1,000 is therefore forking out around £200 in interest charges alone. Coupled with meagre returns on savings, it's enough to make your blood boil!

While authorised overdrafts may seem expensive, going into the red without permission will cost you even more due to huge penalty fees.

Barclays, for example, charges £8 (up to a maximum of £40 a day) each time that there is not enough money in your account to cover a payment.

If you need to send money abroad, the likelihood is that your bank will impose transfer charges - and offer you a poor rate of exchange. Someone transferring a five-figure sum could easily lose out by £500 or more as a result.

The good news, however, is that you can often get a better deal by using a currency specialist such as Moneycorp.

Automated telephone banking systems, not to mention call centres in far-flung parts of the world, are one of our top gripes - especially as we often encounter them when we are already calling to report a problem.

In the words of one disgruntled customer: "What is it about telephone banking that turns me into Victor Meldrew? Well, maybe it's the fourteen security questions, maybe it's the range of products that they try to push or maybe it's because I'm forced to listen to jazz funk at full volume while my phone bill soars.

"Actually though, I think it's because the people I eventually speak to rarely seem able to solve the issue I'm calling about."

The days of a personal relationship with your bank manager are long gone - for the huge majority of us at least.

When ethical Triodos Bank investigated recently why around 9 million Britons would not recommend their banks to a friend or relative, it found that almost a third felt they were not treated as individuals. Another 40%, meanwhile, were simply disappointed with the customer service they received.

When you're in a rush, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long queue at your local branch.

Researchers at consumer champion Which? recently found that most people get seen within 12 minutes, but you could have a much longer wait if you go in at a busy time. Frustrating stuff!

The Triodos Bank research also indicated that the bonus culture that ensured the bank's high-flying employees received large salaries, even when it was making a loss at the taxpayer's expense, was hugely unpopular with consumers.

About a quarter of those who would not recommend their current banks said this was the main reason why. And with RBS executives sharing a £785 million bonus pool despite the bank, which is 82% publicly owned, making a loss of £2 billion last year, it's not hard to see why.

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