An injection of capitalism was all it took. Not long ago, British banks were unpopular and unresponsive, and now they are listening to their customers.
How times are changing.
Barclays’ decision to radically change its offer to customers by giving them cash marks the latest stage in the development of this market – and shows it is really starting to become more dynamic.
The current account switching service is 18 months old and the impact on banks is startling.
Eye-catching cash offers to new customers are the most obvious benefit to customers, particularly at a time when low interest rates leave many savers feeling ripped off by their banks.
On top of that, banks are improving the way they treat customers. No longer can they get away with poor service – it is simple for an angry customer to jump to a new bank. Your correspondent here did that a year ago, and is happier for the move.
Sure, switching could be a little bit easier, or a little bit quicker, and some positive changes are on the way – but overall, the market is more open now, and customers have noticed.
Every month, around 100,000 people use the scheme to change bank.
With millions moving bank-by-bank that makes a serious difference to banks’ bottom lines. Hence Barclays responding to the market, taking big steps to win more customers.
That is a giant bank, listening to customers.
Who knew it was possible? It did not take the government breaking up the banks, or setting up its own lenders. It just had to open the market, and let customers choose.
You can consider the banking market well and truly shaken up.