Switching your bank account to a more ethical provider may seem appealing, but will the service be as consistent as your current provider? Are you tempted to move to a more ethical bank?
I’ve banked online with First Direct for years and have found its customer service to be impeccable. But if I want to pay in a cheque or cash, I have to go into an HSBC branch. And there’s the problem.
Just as I’ve never had a bad experience with First Direct, I’ve never had a good one with HSBC, whose staff have, in my experience, ranged from indifferent to rude. My positive view of First Direct has been soured by its parent company.
And my negative feeling has been further compounded by the recent run of news about the global failings of the HSBC group, including a $1bn fine for money laundering offences in the US. My disappointment at the group’s ethical policy has given me the final push to do the previously unthinkable and ditch First Direct in favour of The Co-operative Bank.
A question of ethics
The picture so far has been mixed. I’ve called into my local Britannia branch (now part of The Co-op group) twice to open the account – the first time I was struck by the indifferent customer service and took to Twitter to voice my frustrations. I received excellent service on my next visit.
My fear is that when The Co-op takes over hundreds of Lloyds TSB branches in the coming year or so, the customer service in the new branches won’t match up with the bank’s current reputation. The Co-op has an impressive 86% customer score among Which? members, compared with 58% for Lloyds TSB.
If The Co-op wants to keep me, it must drive up service standards in its new branches, rather than be dragged down by them. So far, the jury’s out.