Smaller rivals pick up business after rates scam

SMALLER banks and building societies are benefiting from increased current account business as consumers become disillusioned with big banks.

Metro Bank saw a 30 per cent increase in new account enquiries last week, and has increased call centre manpower by 13 per cent to cope with demand. It typically opens 1,500-2,000 new accounts each week.

New figures from the Co-operative Bank show a 48 per cent increase in the number of online customers requesting to switch their current account in the last two weeks.

Nationwide saw an 85 per cent increase in the number of online accounts opened last week, while Norwich & Peterborough Building Society saw applications double, with a high proportion of these coming from Barclays and NatWest, according to Ewan Edwards, head of current accounts at N&P, although an RBS spokeswoman said there is no “significant change” in the current account customers and that it was “too early” to see any real change.

With politicians stressing that banks must make the switching process easier, Metro Bank spokeswoman Beth Murray said a better understanding of the switching process would lead a number of customers to smaller banks and building societies.