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Barclays and NatWest fiasco – has it shaken your trust in banks?

This week, Barclays was found to be manipulating lending rates and NatWest, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland customers suffered as a result of technical glitches. But has this affected our trust in the banks?

This week, two separate banking crises have dominated our headlines, having had a significant impact on both the economy and us consumers. But was anyone really surprised?

One of the most shocking discoveries was that Barclays had been manipulating Libor for the purpose of increasing the bank’s overall profits. The impact is potentially enormous and, unsurprisingly, has done little to inspire confidence in the bank.

In fact, a recent YouGov study found that the public’s brand perception of Barclays fell below that of BP in the height of its oil spill crisis – and that’s pretty low.

Fixes, glitches and riches

In a recent Which? Convo, we asked if you thought individuals should be prosecuted for their part in these scandals. You told us (in no uncertain terms) how you thought those involved should pay for breaking our trust. Terryindorset said:

‘Corrupt activities have been perpetrated and had we non-banking people done similar things, we’d be put in jail.’

And in a poll we conducted last week, eight in ten (78%) agreed that when a law is broken by a bank, the individual(s) involved should be personally prosecuted.

We sifted through other discussions online on the issue (using analysis by research group Trufflenet) to gauge the sentiment of 2,500 tweets on the issue. Over 20% blamed Barclays specifically for the Libor scandal, but there were many mentions of RBS (17%) and the Bank of England (14%), showing Barclays are not the only ones in the firing line.

In banks we distrust

In fact the research from YouGov suggests that other banks are being affected by association. The BrandIndex – the metric used by YouGov to track the public’s perception of bands – appears to affect the general perception of the UK banking industry as HSBC and Lloyds’ index scores have also significantly fallen.

Thankfully I wasn’t hit by the problems this week, but I think it would have made me reconsider my custom with the bank if I had been. If your bank has let you down and hasn’t made an effort to rectify the issue, what’s stopping you from moving on?

It appears some people are already switching as the Co-operative Bank reported an increase of 25% in online applications for its current accounts this week alone.

The banks have a long way to go before they can restore people’s trust – particularly considering the banking crisis over the past few years. We’re working hard to make sure financial regulators take their part in restoring our trust in the banks, but in the meantime, will you stand your ground and switch?


It can’t shake my trust in something I didn’t trust to start with.

20 years ago I left Barclay’s when they bounced a cheque to my mum on the basis that the previous month I had made a payment later in the month and if I did the same again in the current month, AND they honoured the Cheque, there would be insufficient funds in my account.

They failed to take any notice of the fact that in the intervening 2 weeks I could easily have paid money in, or that I might not make the large payment later in the month every month.

They didn’t, however, miss the opportunity to charge me £15 for bouncing the cheque and £30 for sending a letter explaining their rationale.

More recently Nat West played an interesting move which I caught them out with using on line banking. I knew that I was nearing a zero balance position and was checking my account on line daily to make certain that I was not overdrawn. One a particular day I noted that the last outstanding transaction before pay day had cleared the bank and that I had a balance of just a few pence left in credit. The following day the balance was the same and everything was fine. Knowing that the day after was pay-day and that there were no outstanding transactions I worried no more.

A few days later when I logged on, I discovered that I had been charged an unarranged overdraft fee, an “administration” fee and interest and that a transaction which had been processed the day AFTER pay-day and been back-dated to the day BEFORE payday.

Fortunately, whenever I check my on-line statement I also download it, so I called the bank, who insisted that I was at fault and that they could do nothing about it, until I asked for the name of a manager to whom I could send print outs of my downloaded statements. The voice on the ‘phone hesitated slightly and said “err, you’ve downloaded them? …. just a moment …… oh, no, we’re sorry, it was an administration error of ours, I can see it now, I’ll arrange for the fees to be refunded.”

And that’s before we start on the charges banks levy upon retailers on order to process cards which the banks insist that we all have, let alone the scandals that hit the headlines.

So no, the latest hasn’t shaken my trust because I didn’t have any to start with ………. I just feel that until the boys Osborne & Cam-moron stop bailing out their millionaire cronies in the banking industry and actually change the law and force regulation upon the banks, there will be no change.

frances says:
7 July 2012

The problem is, Messrs Osborne & Cameron
do not control the City.
It is the other way round.

An old proverb:
‘the best way to rob a bank is to own it’
And don’t we see that proven daily.

I have never trusted Banks ever since I had an unknown debt labelled “sundries” from Midland Bank – which on enquiry – refunded it – in 1962. I now use an on-line bank for MY convenience – but check it almost daily. But sadly I trust them far more than Cameron and Osbourne. They are really the pits.

Online banking?
Zeus virus, and no they don’t tell you about it!

Interesting – been using on-line banking 20 years – never had a virus – EVER – so another scare for the computer illiterate? As I said I check my account almost daily.



True to its Trojan roots, Zeus (aka Zbot) comes disguised in an email. It might be as innocuous-seeming as a LinkedIn request or it could purport to warn the recipient of a problem with their financial information and offer help. No matter, the link within leads to their exposing their financial information. Once a system is infected with Zeus, passwords are collected, keystrokes are logged, and legitimate forms can be compromised with the addition of extra fields designed to nab information.

Note – Only computer unaware people open unsolicited e-mails OR connect to such links. It is called good internet practice and something I used to teach to my computer studies classes years ago – My Bank (First Direct) actually warns us not to do so continuously

Now take a look at how the banks tried to hide this virus when it first appeared and what they initially told customers who had monies taken from their accounts. We are discussing banking honesty here, not what you refer to as computer illiteracy.

Many people who use online banking today are from a generation who did not ‘grow up’ with this technology, and indeed are relatively new to it, whilst getting to grips with the rapid changes to the way our banking is carried out, they do require security and protection, and most importantly transparency and honesty from the banks.

What you appear to be doing is exactly what the banks do, blame the customer for it’s own inadequacies. If the instillation of a Trojan horse can compromise your account, then the banks should provide a quality anti virus package when you open an on line account, [cheap for the banks and a damned good sales strategy].

Many years ago I was a victim of white card fraud, the bank denied this existed and told me my wife had taken my card and robbed my account, I proved them wrong and got £900 in compensation for them lying to me, things still haven’t changed


Actually First Direct DOES offer a software solution to it’s customers. – I honestly haven’t found it actually lacking transparency or for that matter honesty.

But as I said before I don’t trust Banks generally – I don’t believe they are generally honest either – but many businesses aren’t too I do not think they will be trustworthy until they split the casino bank parts off and they become a service again. When I discovered the Midland Bank removed money from my account as “sundries” and when I asked “what sundries?” they refused to explain but gave me a refund – I left and joined First Direct (I didn’t realise they were connected) but First Direct is really excellent.

I firmly believe that everybody should be responsible with their money – too many are not – (and why I taught “budgeting” at school to the less able) – and that includes good Internet practice. That is why I check my balances at least weekly – and why I love Internet banking I can see it “Live”.

Computer illiteracy (and sometimes laziness) is the reason why I run OAP computer “classes” at my OAP club because I know that unlike me (who also did not “grow up with this technology” – I’m over 80) many haven’t a clue, I try to overcome that cluelessness.

I agree that Banks should be honest, helpful and open – but under this present regime I doubt it will happen.

We both [and 99% of the population too I believe] don’t trust banks, the degree is how much. I personally do not use online banking as I do not trust them at all, maybe my mistrust has evolved into bankaphoboia 🙂

I remember the launch of first direct it was an innovation then and I am sure they do their bit to protect the customer, but however hard they try, the banks have gone too far down the criminal path to ever be trusted again. I have my bank managers home number and address in my diary [just in case].

Financial responsibility is a desired trait and I agree we all need to be, but once again we rely on those ‘experts’ to advise us, and as we have found out with the ‘mis selling fiasco’ the experts lie too.

I applaud what you are doing, as our age group is heavily targeted by all these spivs and nerdowells and we need all the help we can get. I would like to see a specialist golden account for pensioners which pays a greater interest rate and additional benefits aimed at this group, with the appropriate security. I have seen some ‘products’ aimed at us and all they seem to be doing is trying to get hold of any property we have.


In all honesty the reason I like First Direct is because I can check my accounts daily if I want to – with broadband this is completely free – whereas an ordinary bank will cost you for the phone call to the bank. Plus I can manipulate my accounts 24/7 – A vast improvement on standard Banks. It is also better than keeping the money under the bed.

I too would like a “golden account” for pensioners but with this government it won’t happen. There is no doubt that OAPs are a prime target as too many are too easily persuaded to part with their money. – Again that is the reason I run help “classes” at the OAP club to help our club members to guard against fraud and cons designed to remove them from their money – and help with budgeting as so many of us are now living below the poverty line.

all banks and all governments are untrustworthy, what can we do with our money?

I am removing mine slowly and using the cash for “projects”

R.B.H says:
8 July 2012

I grew up being told-never trust a suit or a government employee. As harsh as it sounded at the time(and i did have problems agreeing with the advice)now, a few decades later most of the grief, hardship and pain in my life has been brought on by suits and government employees. bankers, tax man, goverments et al. grand-dad, i should have listened.

John Knox says:
23 July 2012

I don’t trust banks one bit. If anything is in need of drastic reform and breaking up it is our banks. They are stuck in the 80’s unable and unwilling to change and that spells doom for them. I can see people ditching them in drives and switching. My plan is eventually to be completely credit card free and if feasible to have absolutely no bank account.

It’s all well and good changing but how long will it be before your new bank drops the ball and loses your trust? At one point American banks refused to change and were stuck in their ways and they really suffered and lost out by refusing to change and reform. The Japanese Banks then became the biggest.

It seems that our banks are at the stage the American banks were once at and are now going to lose out to alternatives coming in and forcing change like the Big Supermarkets and foreign banks.

Even the banks and building societies here in the UK that are supposedly run by its members are not that much different to the big banks.

Like Dave said in the first reply to this question, your trust can’t be lost in something that never had it to start with.

Martin Schwanke says:
10 January 2015

Barclays tried to sell, and succeeded in selling my father (who was pronounced to have Alzheimer’s at the time and was retired) a loan, which he could not possibly pay back, so the interest kept getting bigger until we had to get the FSA involved, luckily got the repayments quashed, but it taught me a lesson not to trust the bank. Also, I hate the way they (Barclays) introduced the “legal jargon” mortgages whereby the bank would own most of the homebuyers property, forcing the owners to never have enough equity in the house to be able to sell. I am totally finished with Barclays, and their advert about Life skills and digital eagles suck big time too.
Barclays, learn from this please, I don’t want you even trading any more (except I have more sympathy for the low level staff, who rely on the cashier and sub branch manager jobs) not the greasy palm executives.