Britain’s worst financial firms have been named and shamed in the annual Moneywise Customer Service Awards, with Royal Bank of Scotland coming bottom for the fifth year in a row. It was followed by TSB, Vanquis and Admiral.
The results are based on a survey completed by more than 32,000 Moneywise readers between January and April 2019.
RBS has been dogged by several scandals since it was bailed out during the financial crisis, including the mistreatment of small businesses and mis-selling of PPI.
The bank also launched a devasting programme of branch closures, leaving communities up and down the country without a high street bank.
The taxpayer-backed bank was voted the least trustworthy financial company by Moneywise readers, with many voicing concerns about the closure of branches.
“I am particularly annoyed by difficulties in communicating with RBS due to steady closure of branches close to my home, long queues at alternative banks and problems trying to speak to bank staff on the phone,” says one angry reader.
Another says: “Closing too many branches. Now I have to travel miles when I need to go in branch.”
A RBS spokesperson says: “Our customer feedback process is helping us to listen, learn and react quickly to customer concerns. We understand there is still more that needs to be done and also that legacy issues continue to impact on how customers feel towards the bank. We are working hard within innovation to better meet our customers needs and developing market leading products such as our paperless mortgage and Financial Health Checks where we sit down with our customers to see how we can best help them. In areas where a branch has closed we offer a range of alternative ways to bank whether that is through our mobile van network, working with the post office or through our community bankers.”
TSB was voted the second least-trusted firm.
Last year, 1.9 million TSB customers were locked out of its online service and banking app after an attempt to migrate customers to a new computer system was unsuccessful.
Technical problems were the biggest gripe for TSB customers in our survey, with security issues a major worry for respondents.
“The security concerns and poor handling of online issues with TSB has negatively affected my opinion of the bank,” says one customer.
Its mobile app also came in for some harsh criticism, with one frustrated customer saying it was “too slow”.
“The app often doesn’t work very well either,” says another.
Respondents also raised concerns about the bank’s customer service.
“I did not automatically receive a new chequebook, so I attempted phoning to have it sent to my known address by mail. After being repeatedly switched from person to person who could not send it, as my previous Lloyds Bank had when needed, I was told by the local branch manager I’d have to call and pick it up – a return trip of 20 miles,” says one customer.The reader then adds: “I was told that if I didn’t like it, I could always change banks!”
A TSB spokesperson says: “We’re sorry for the problems some of our customers experienced as a result of our well documented IT switch last year. Regrettably this is why our scores are low in this poll. We have made huge strides in putting things right for our customers and our new platform is now delivering real benefits to consumers and small businesses alike.”
It was not just the banks that scored poorly, with credit card firm Vanquis coming third from bottom.
Vanquis provides credit cards to borrowers who have been turned down by other banks.
As well as scoring poorly on trust, respondents to the survey ranked it poorly on rate competitiveness and customer service.
Readers also expressed their anger at insurers who lure customers in with cheap rates that then go up at renewal time.
Admiral was voted the worst-rated insurer by our readers, coming in as the fourth least-trusted provider overall.
One reader complains particularly of “price creep at renewal and better rates for new customers.
“I resent the battle and having to haggle at renewal.
“I will be leaving them when my renewal is up again in September.”