After financial crisis hit, retail banks are building up their reputations (to "average"): These are the UK's most and least trusted lenders

William Turvill
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Nationwide topped the ranking, followed by Virgin Money and Halifax (Source: Getty)

The reputation of UK retail banks is growing, with Nationwide, Virgin Money and Halifax leading the way.

But Royal Bank of Scotland, TSB and HSBC are trailing others in the latest UK RepTrak ranking, compiled by the Reputation Institute.

The figures, based on more than 35,000 UK customer ratings collected in the first quarter of 2017, show trust in retail banks has been growing in recent years.

The institute noted that the sector has been one of the most challenged in terms of reputation since the 2008 financial crash, “with stories of greedy bankers and dishonest activity dominating the media for much of the last nine years”.

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But the industry has built up from a score of 57.7 in 2015 to 64.5 this year, placing it within the “average” category, below technology and above utilities.

The institute said retail banks had performed well in part thanks to a strong reputation in terms of data privacy and security practices, and good compliance with regulatory and legal requirements.

RBS has remained rooted to the bottom of the table of 12, while Lloydswhich the government sold its final shares in this month – has improved its reputation significantly, rising from 11th place to fourth. This is despite personal controversies surrounding chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

The big faller of the year was Santander, which dropped from third place with a score of 67.4 to sixth place with 64.7.

2017 ranking Bank Score 2016 position
1 Nationwide Building Society 79.8 1
2 Virgin Money 68.1 2
3 Halifax 67.3 4
4 Lloyds Banking Group 66.1 11
5 Metro Bank 65.7 5
6 Santander 64.7 3
7 Barclays 64.6 9
8 Co-op Bank 64.1 7
9 NatWest 62.8 6
10 HSBC 62.6 8
11 TSB Banking Group 60.6 10
12 RBS 51.7 12

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“The strong reputation score Nationwide has achieved this year and last year proves that the sector a business operates in does not need to hold it back from striving for an excellent reputation,” said James Bickford of the Reputation Institute.

“Through its communications Nationwide has leveraged its position as a building society owned by its members, and this has paid off in the eyes of the UK public. Effective communications are accompanied by delivering good quality products and services (scoring 80.1), having great governance and citizenship credentials (76.9 and 73.5 respectively), as well as being seen as a great workplace (72.1).”

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