Santander the stand out choice for current account switchers

The established high street banks are haemorrhaging accounts whilst lack of data from ‘Challenger’ banks is disappointing
Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms looks at the latest Payments Council data on current account switching. (Payments Council latest figures are Q2 2014 but I have amalgamated Q1 and Q2 to show first 6 months of 2014)
The figures for the high street giants paint a grim picture with Barclays, NatWest, HSBC and Lloyds Bank showing a combined net loss of 119,792 customers in the first half of 2014.
By contrast Santander saw a net gain of 97,238 in the same 6 month period; this is no doubt partly due to the attractive interest rate of 3% paid on current account credit balances between £3,000 and £20,000.
Halifax ended up with an extra 56,683 switchers in the first half of 2014 although the quarter 2 gain of 15,125 was well down on its first 3 months of the year when it witnessed a net influx of 41,558 new accounts.
Nationwide Building Society is the only other provider showing steady growth – up 26,450 switchers in the first half of last year.
Although the figures for Lloyds Bank showing a net loss of 21,518 accounts in the last 6 months don’t look great, the bank will be encouraged that the launch of its Club Lloyds account on 31 March has seen the quarterly loss down to 6,316 (Apr-Jun) from 15,202 (Jan-March)
Despite the offer of a £100 + £25 (to charity) switching incentive by Co-operative bank, its troubled second quarter of 2014 was reflected in a big increase in customers switching away – the second quarter net loss of 19,103 accounts was far more painful than the 7852 loss reported in the first 3 months.
The latest payments council figures were too early for the likes of Tesco Bank (launched 10 June) and M&S (mass market account launched 15 May) but I’m disappointed not to see figures for TSB (launched 30 March) or indeed Metro Bank.
There has been much talk of challenger banks and how they may appeal to customers fed up with their traditional high street bank so I’m surprised that they don’t want to show their hand and let the industry see just how much of a slice of new business they’re actually taking in the ultra-competitive current account market.

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