Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Loyalty? Don't bank on Ulster customers

Northern Ireland consumers are the least loyal to their high street banks, according to research just published by the Which? consumer group.

Some 85% of Northern Ireland current account holders say they are prepared to switch banks if they get bad service.

This compares to an average of 68% across the whole of the UK and just 58% in Wales, the UK region most loyal to its current banking providers.

The survey was conducted in advance of a national consultation to be conducted by Which?, seeking to persuade the UK Government to listen to consumers as well as banks when deciding how to reform banks and banking practices.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Whether they're annoyed at bad service, poor returns on savings, or the huge bonuses bankers continue to lavish on themselves, we believe that all consumers should have their say when deciding the future of banking."

A 'Future of Banking Commission' has been established by Which?, chaired by the former shadow home secretary David Davis.

Its first report will examine the financial crisis from the point of view of ordinary consumers and the banking industry.

Vicary-Smith explained: "Ordinary people are still feeling the repercussions of the financial crisis, yet their voice has so far been missing from the debate about how to rebuild our banking system."

Despite Northern Ireland consumers being the least loyal to their existing banks, they also expressed the least support for consumer involvement in banking reform.

Some 75% of Northern Ireland consumers believe consumers should be consulted, against 83% across the UK.

The Which? commission is giving consumers an opportunity to give their views on reform through an online consultation being conducted on the website www.which.co.uk/banking.

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