‘Customers happier with building societies than banks’

March 4, 2009 at 2:45 pm

As bankers are demonised on a daily basis in the press, it seems that the public really are losing satisfaction and trust in their banks. Recent research published by the Building Societies’ Association, which represents all fifty five Building Societies in the UK, has revealed that customers of Building Societies (borrowers and savers alike) are far happier than customers of banks. Building Societies in the UK hold over a fifth of mortgages and savings, plus well over a third of cash ISAs.

The research was carried out last October, at the height of the problems in the financial markets. Respondents were asked about their overall level of satisfaction, whether they feel they get value for money and fair treatment, the ability of banks and Building Societies to give sound advice and the perceived safety of savings, and Building Societies came out top in all categories.

74% of Building Society mortgage holders are extremely or very satisfied, compared with 63% of other institutions’ customers. As for savers, 67% of Building Society savers are extremely or very satisfied compared to 53% of others.

67% of Building Society customers are happy with the value they get for their money compared to only 48% of bank account holders. Only 10% of Building Society clients feel they don’t get value for money whilst 32% of bank account holders feel that way.

68% of Building Society customers feel they are treated fairly compared to only 55% of bank clients. Only 7% of Building Society customers are not happy with the treatment they get compared to 29% of bank customers.

As far as trusting the advice given by their institutions, 58% of Building Society customers are happy whilst only 50% of bank customers are. 32% of bank customers would not trust the advice given compared to only 14% of Building Society customers.

69% of Building Society customers feel their deposits are safe whilst 64% of banks’ customers feel the same. Only 13% of Building Society customers do not feel their money is safe compared to 24% of bank customers.

The Director General of the BSA feels the difference in the results could be down to the fact that Building Societies, as mutuals, are not answerable to shareholders and are accountable to their members.

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