Despite a challenging time in the boardroom, Metro Bank has retained its place alongside first direct atop the latest customer satisfaction ratings for personal accounts

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UK banks are ranked on the satisfaction of their customers

Despite a turbulent year in the boardroom, Metro Bank has retained its place at the summit of customer satisfaction league tables for personal accounts in the UK, sharing the top spot with first direct.

The two have consistently scored highly in the regulator-mandated review of UK lenders, which is updated every six months.

Metro Bank also scored highly in the customer satisfaction rankings among business account customers, holding on to second place behind Handelsbanken.

It has been a challenging year for Metro, with misreported risk on its loan book spooking investors and causing share prices to plummet — culminating in a significant drop in first-half profits and chairman Vernon Hill stepping down.

These results offer some positive news and confirm its strategy of focusing heavily on US-style in-branch customer service is proving a hit with consumers.

CEO Craig Donaldson said: “We are extremely proud to still hold the top spot for personal current account service and maintain our top two position among our business customers.

Service and convenience are at the heart of everything we do at Metro Bank and we’re thrilled that our customers can see this.

“Thank you to all our customers and colleagues for being part of the banking revolution.”


Metro Bank and first direct continue to outclass competitors on customer satisfaction

Metro Bank and first direct have dominated the personal banking league table since it was launched last year, each consistently scoring approval ratings of more than 80%.

In the latest results, which canvassed the opinions of almost 14,000 people about the UK’s 16 biggest banks, both lenders achieved scores of 82%.

CEO of first direct Joe Gordon said: “We’re delighted to again be providing the highest standards of customer service in UK banking.

“When it comes to making decisions about banking services we believe service quality is just as important as price for consumers.

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Joe Gordon, CEO first direct (Credit: first direct)

Over the last 30 years first direct has consistently pioneered the highest levels of customer service through everything we do, and we’ll keep raising the bar on this every 24/7/365.”

Behind the table toppers, both Nationwide and Barclays made minor improvements to their previous scores, recording 74% and 66% customer satisfaction levels, respectively.

Rounding off the ‘Big Four’ UK retail banks, both Lloyds and HSBC upped their scores, with 64% and 62%, respectively, while Royal Bank of Scotland lagged behind at the bottom of the table with 46%.

Yorkshire Bank customers were less satisfied this time round, with its rating dropping from 64% in February to 59% in the latest table.


What are the bank customer satisfaction league tables?

This is the third instalment of the bi-annual league tables, which were commissioned by UK regulators following a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the retail banking sector in 2016.

Rules were put in place by the CMA and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requiring banks to regularly publish information on how likely their customers are to recommend services to friends, relatives or other businesses.

FCA executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard said: “It is now a year since we required firms to start publishing this data, providing people with the tools to work out how easily they can carry out day to day banking activities, as well as the reliability of the service they receive.

“The figures provide a more established basis for consumers, small businesses and comparison services to compare current account providers and find the right solution for their needs.

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Metro Bank’s customer service (Credit: Metro Bank)

“The information published should increase the incentive for firms to offer better service, helping consumers to get the most out of their banking experience.”

A key purpose of the ratings is to give customers more information about competitors in the market, in an effort to increase the frequency with which customers switch account providers.

It has long been acknowledged that retail banking customers often stick with the same account provider, feeling that it is too complex a process to switch to another, and that the difference between banks is so small that moving is not worth the perceived hassle.

The Current Account Switch Service is another measure that has been introduced to try to galvanise competition within the market and incentivise people to shop around for their banking provider, by completing the business of switching on the customer’s behalf.

CMA senior director Adam Land said: “Current account holders and small businesses should consider voting with their feet and switching their bank or building society if they aren’t getting a good service.

“These league tables help show what’s out there for customers and hold the providers to account. There’s nowhere for the worst performers to hide now.”