/ Money

Should banks open on Saturdays?

Sign with days of the week

It’s great news that some HSBC branches will be open later and on Saturdays. So is this the start of a new trend in customer-service-comes-first banking?

We were mightily heartened to hear that HSBC is responding to ‘consumer habits’ and opening for longer. The changes mean 80 branches will have longer opening hours in the week and an extra 170 will be opening on Saturdays.

Along with its other branches open on Saturday, that brings the total to 500 – only a proportion of its total 1412 branches. HSBC claims many of the new branches are in suburbs and more rural areas, but these numbers suggest lots of rural customers still won’t be able to bank at weekends. Still, it’s a start.

In our recent poll which asked if you want banks to be more like shops, 34% of you said that customer service is key. So let’s hope these longer opening hours mean a good standard of service and staffing levels.

Of course, we could be even more cynical and consider the shiny new Metro Bank in all this. Is it a coincidence that Metro opened its first customer-service focussed bank only two weeks ago? Or that one of the HSBC branches extending its hours is on the same street as Metro in High Holborn?

Probably not. But if competition has forced the big banks to review their tactics in a way that helps consumers, we’re not complaining. With any luck, more banks will be jumping on the bandwagon very soon…

Rita says:
13 August 2010

As I am now retired Saturday opening is not relevant to me. However I fully support extended opening hours for banks, particularly on Saturday. Online banking is of course very popular and convenient but easy access to the local branch is still very necessary.

My previous local branch of Coop used to open at 8.30 on 4 out of 5 weekday mornings. Which was great, as I used to be able to pop cheques (yup, still use them, still get them) in before work. Then they changed their hours to open at 9.30 every weekday. Which was a pain. I can JUST do it in a lunchhour, but it’s a stretch.

Early or later would be good. Even if it was only 1 day a week, at least you could then plan getting cheques put in. As it is, I’ve had a cheque from my insurance sat in my bag for over a week now, waiting for me to go pay it in.

What’s a ‘bank branch’ anyway – can’t remember the last time I ever needed to go inside one of those stuffy old places. Bank on the web and the closest you need to get to a bank is the cashpoint on the OUTSIDE of it!

I for one think they should be banned from opening branches at the weekend! They should be forced to make their services available more by post/online.

If they start opening up more branches at the weekend it’ll only cost them yet more money – and before you say “I don’t care, that’s their problem”, don’t forget that every little sniff of extra cost gives them yet another excuse for them to justify their fees or even increase them still further. Watch those fees, they’re about to rise again…..

I use First Direct so I almost don’t care – But I do use the paying in facility in my local HSBC so longer opening hours would be slightly more convenient.

However post and telephone are almost as good.

Anne says:
18 August 2010

I have been banking with Alliance and Leicester (now Santander) for many years and my local branch has been opening on Saturday mornings for as long as I can remember. This is helpful for people who work full time and don’t like to use internet banking (or don’t have access). I also hate using outside cash machines as they can easily be tampered with and also because anyone looking for easy cash could grab it from you as soon as it is out of the machine, so having the branch open, with a cash machine inside, is of great benefit – at all times.

Alex says:
18 August 2010

I think it’s a great idea. I bank with Barclays and they close early-ish on a Saturday meaning I always miss it (yes, I have a lie in on a Saturday). And yes, while I’m a frequent user of online banking, sometimes you just need to speak to someone.

Practically ever other retail service opens for a full day on Saturdays – why not banks? Too long coming I say.

Saturday morning banking is convenient and fortunately we bank at abbey(santander).Many people do not have access to internet banking although we have we decline to use it.I look at our current account each morning and we sometimes transfer money between accounts by phone ,pay credit card bills over the phone but never using the internet. As for the comment that all branches should be closed that is just ridiculous and a mite selfish.
We also appreciate using a cash machine inside the bank purely from a safety aspect.As you may have gathered we are retired but our attitude has always been cautious and disinclined to use the internet.

Having had a few issues with my mothers account I wrote a letter to the manager of her branch. Not having had a response I managed to speak with the manager at the third attempt, who informed me that letters addressed to “The Manager” never get to the manager but are forwarded to a service department who can only deal with what is on their screen. He advised me to visit my own branch to sort things out, which I managed to do almost instantly dealing face to face with a person. Now I am about to be employed again I need the branch to be open on a time when I am not at work so late evenings or Saturdays would suit me immensly

Lorena says:
20 August 2010

Yes, I think it is a good idea and with staff at the counters. I don’t like banking with machines.