First Direct on course to be crowned Best British Bank for the second year running

With the scene set for the largest banking revolution in a generation, early results from consumers taking part in Smart Money People’s annual British Bank Awards show that the High Street banks have begun to raise their game, albeit fairly slowly. Customer service satisfaction levels among bank customers have increased from 76% to 82% over the past 12 months.

In the meantime, First Direct look set to be crowned ‘Best British Bank’ for the second year running, while RBS has dropped five places and is currently bringing up the rear. The full British Bank Awards results are due to be announced in late February.

Mike Fotis, founder and CEO of Smart Money People commented: “The final results of the annual British Bank Awards are still some weeks away, but it is already clear that the traditional High Street banks are raising their game. With a deluge of new, leaner, and smarter banking entrants on the way, it’s clear that the traditional banks we’ve grown up with are gearing up for a fight. But how far improvements in customer service can go, and to what extent this will help to retain customers, remains to be seen.”

“Of the thousands of consumers who have already taken part, what really stands out is the level of honest feedback that is being provided – they tell it the way it is and in a way that is not shrouded in marketing-speak. It’s also encouraging to see how consumer attitudes to financial products are changing, and how much research is being carried-out by consumers to ensure that they are really getting the best products.”

“At the end of the day, consumers are looking for honest brands, a fair return on their money and decent treatment, and are more convinced that their voice is important and can bring about market change, even in the financial services sector.”

One First Direct customer, Mary Jefferies of London, said: “If you’re feeling unappreciated and undervalued by your current bank or you’re fed up with poor service then vote with your feet and switch. You won’t look back, I promise!” Another customer, Laura Hughes of Sheffield, summed up First Direct by saying: “First Direct is first class in all respects.”
In contrast, Malcolm Butterworth of Birmingham, said of RBS: “Not as good as they were….you could speak to a manager once if you had a problem, not anymore. They say they will ring you back and don’t.”

The full results of Smart Money People’s annual British Bank Awards will be announced on February 23. Using a sample of over 3,500 consumers, the eight categories include ‘Best British Bank’, ‘Best Current Account’ and ‘Best Business Banking.’

Posted: 7th of February 2016

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