London - 9 May - Santander is emerging as the main winner for the battle to attract current account switchers, with NatWest and HSBC losing ground, according to the TNS Current Account Switching Index (CASI).
The index was launched at the same time as Switch, a government initiative to give bank and building society customers reassurance that switching their accounts would be done quickly and safely.
In each month since then, Santander has attracted more switchers than it has lost: in April it took in 23% of all those switching their accounts, while losing 8% for a net gain of 15%, up by two thirds from a net gain of 9% in the first month of Switch. The drivers for joining Santander continue to be rewards for 1 in 3 customers.
However whilst credit interest rates were a reason for 1 in 2 customers choosing Santander, they were a reason for 1 in 3 customers leaving them – a possible reflection of the ‘promise' being greater than the reality.
Among the traditional High Street banks, both HSBC and NatWest recorded a 10% net loss in April: each attracted 2% of switchers and lost 12%. HSBC has recorded net losses in each month since Switch began, and NatWest in every month bar one.
Customer service, which continues to be the main reason for customers switching out of their banks, was given as the main reason by one in three of those who switched out of HSBC.
Barclays, by contrast, has seen its position stabilise with very small net losses or none at all over the period. One in three of those joining Barclays gave reputation as their main reason, the same score as Nationwide. Given the recent history of the banking sector, reputation has in general been a negative factor for the traditional High Street banks.
Maureen Duffy, CEO of TNS UK said, "These figures indicate that consumers who are switching continue to look beyond the 'traditional High Street banks', focusing instead on the individual bank offering. Barclays' current account strategy is at least sustaining their position whereas HSBC and NatWest may need to find new approaches to prevent further erosion of market share."
The April survey also found that awareness of the current account Switch guarantee has stabilised at 60%, being highest among men (64%), the over-45s (69%) and ABC1s (66%). Regionally it is highest in the South West (69%) and lowest in London (48%).
The overall switching level remains at 4% and continues to have a male, ABC1 and younger bias.
Notes to editors:
Nationally representative sample of 12,147 current account holders interviewed between 28 March and 18 April of whom 419 were switchers. Interviews conducted face-to-face in-home twice weekly.
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