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Rosie Murray-West
By
November 29, 2018

Branching Out? What Next For Britain’s Banks?

how we bank today

The way we bank may be changing fast, but customers continue to visit their bank branches in large numbers, Consumer Intelligence data has shown.


 

A new banking landscape survey shows that 45% of us have visited a bank branch in the last month, while just 16% of us have called a banking call centre.

 

The survey indicates that the biggest reason for entering a bank branch is to pay in a cheque, while paying in cash and withdrawing money were also top reasons for visiting. 11% of people wanted to deal with somebody face to face, while other top reasons included asking a question or opening a new account.

Why we visit bank branches

 

Reason for visiting a branch

Percentage who gave this reason

To pay in a cheque

41%

To pay in cash including exchanging coins

29%

To withdraw money

18%

Because I wanted to deal with a person face to face

11%

To get an answer to a question or query

8%

To open a new account or set-up a new product

7%

To update my personal details

6%

To make a complaint or report a problem

2%

To close an account or product

1%

Other – Please specify

4%

I can’t remember

2%

 

The survey also reveals a high level of satisfaction with branch visits — with 86% saying that they were satisfied or ‘very satisfied’ with the experience.

Andy Buller, banking expert at Consumer Intelligence, says that the results show that branch experience is still an important aspect of the banking package.


“Nearly half of us have visited a bank branch in the past month,” he says. “With no clear correlation by age found in our survey, it is clear that bank branch visits are not just the preserve of the older generations.


“Banks need to ensure that they can give customers the service they deserve when visiting a branch, or risk dissatisfaction and customer loss.”

Banking priorities


The survey revealed that trust is the most important thing for consumers when considering their banking needs — coming ahead of accessibility, fees and charges and speed and ease of use.


Most respondents ranked having all of their banking needs in one place as the least important factor in day-to-day banking suggesting that most are happy to have a number of providers for different products and services.

Bank loyalty


The survey also showed that most of us continue to stick with our main bank for our current account, however, 
six in ten of us have been with our bank for more than ten years. Only 12% of us are planning to switch within the next twelve months, with men aged between 25- 34 the most likely to change their main account.

Reasons for switching banks

 

 

One reason for switching

Main reason for switching

I was unhappy with the service at the previous provider)

39%

14%

An introductory offer (e.g. a cash reward or vouchers)

17%

11%

Better interest rates

14%

13%

Recommended the new provider by someone I know

10%

3%

Saw something in the media about the benefits of switching

6%

2%

I had another account/service with the new provider and wanted to consolidate my banking

5%

2%

I had another account/service with the new provider and was impressed by the service offered

4%

1%

Other – Please specify

19%

47%

 

Andy Buller, at Consumer Intelligence says that these results make it clear that customer service is paramount.

 

“Despite the huge numbers of incentives given to customers to switch rates, in the end the main reason for switching is dissatisfaction with customer service.


“Rather than trying to wow people with good interest rates, offering really good service to customers should bear fruit for providers.”

The Fintech revolution


While awareness of new Fintech brands such as Atom and Revolut is growing, use of the brands is lagging behind.

 

For example, 14% of people had heard of both Starling Bank and Monzo, and 19% of people had heard of Atom bank, but only a tiny percentage had used either brand.

 

Bank Brand

Awareness

Use

Atom Bank

19%

1%

Starling Bank

14%

2%

Monzo

14%

1%

Bank of Dave

11%

1%

TransferWise

11%

3%

Revolut

8%

2%

Cashplus

7%

2%

WorldFirst

4%

1%

Cambridge & Counties Bank

3%

1%

B2BPAY

3%

0%

Monese

2%

0%

iBanFirst

2%

0%

GlobCoin

2%

0%

BFC

1%

0%

Bofin

1%

0%

N26

1%

0%

None of these

53%

N/A

 

“Fintech has a long way to go before it reaches the use levels of the big high street banks,” Andy Buller says.

 

“However, these awareness figures show that these brands are now fixing themselves into the public consciousness. Once people are aware of the benefits, more customers are likely to shift their banking - providing that the offer is right.”

Bank accounts today


The survey also revealed that four in ten of us are paying for our current accounts, with men, younger people and Londoners the most likely to have paid-for services.


Over a quarter of people (28%) have a joint account as their main current account, with a further 37% having a secondary joint account.


Santander topped the tables as providing the most main current accounts for respondents, with Nationwide providing the most secondary accounts.

 

Main current account providers (top 10)

%

Santander

13%

Halifax

12%

Barclays

12%

Lloyds Bank

12%

NatWest

10%

Nationwide

9%

HSBC

9%

First Direct

5%

 

Current account providers — secondary account

 

Other current account providers (top 10)

%

Nationwide

20%

Santander

15%

Halifax

15%

Lloyds Bank

12%

TSB

11%

Barclays

11%

NatWest

9%

Tesco Bank

8%

HSBC

8%

First Direct

7%

 

Change in the air


The banking landscape study shows that the way we bank is changing. Only 8% of people had used an app to deposit a cheque, but almost half would be happy to use this and 61% agreed that new technology could make banking easier. 80% of people now use online banking and half bank on their smartphone. Nearly a fifth have used a Money Management App.


“As Open Banking takes hold, these changes will only accelerate, with people being able to manage money across multiple products,” says Andy Buller. “Our study shows that customers are not worried about having many different providers and many are open to the advance of technology.


“While traditional banks and branch banking dominate at present, the openness of consumers to new ideas and brands means that no-one can be complacent about retaining customers.”


For more insight and detailed tables from the banking survey please contact us.

 



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