JEFF PRESTRIDGE: If only Halifax would be as fast with raising rates for depositors as informing customers about changes in the Bank of England base rate
If only Halifax was as prompt with announcing a rate hike for depositors as it informed customers of changes to the Bank of England’s base rate.
Last Tuesday, the Lloyds savings department wrote to customers via email at 4.25am, announcing that the base rate had changed. “We want to help you understand what this could mean for you,” the statement said.
Of course not. Only two and a half days later, the head of the Bank of England decided to raise the base rate from 0.75 to one percent, which was the highest level in 13 years.
Overdue: the sooner Halifax gives Everyday Saver customers a fairer deal – the better
Halifax admitted its mistake later that day with an e-mail and an apology, but as the reader who sent me copies of the e-mails said, “If only the bank had raised its savings rate just as quickly.” Too right.
For the record, in March 2020, the interest rate on Halifax savings on its Everyday Saver account was reduced to 0.01 percent after two rapid base rate reductions as it closed.
Since then, the rate on Everyday Saver has risen 0.14 percentage points to 0.15 percent. The base rate, by contrast, rose 0.9 percentage points.
The sooner Halifax eliminates this anomaly – and gives Everyday Saver customers a fairer deal – the better.
As we have been saying since the base rate began to rise in December last year, it is time to raise the rate for depositors. Now, or in the case of Halifax, two and a half days ago.
The former top boss undermines Santander’s service
The former head of the insurance company contacted me last week. Usually messages from insurance bosses (past or present) come in the form of blabbering on about what I’ve written about the business they run (or run). But not this time.
Instead, he wanted to complain about the appalling customer service he had recently received from Santander Bank.
Shaddy: Customers complain about Santander’s slow service on Trustpilot
Last weekend he tried to open a children’s bank account (mini 123) for his daughter. But he spent more than an hour on the phone, patiently waiting for someone to respond to be helped with the application.
He surrendered in despair. As he noted, his frustration is not isolated. The Trustpilot customer feedback site is full of similar experiences.
“Queues on telephone lines are simply unacceptable,” one columnist said four days ago.
“For the past three weeks, I’ve spent more than seven hours sticking in their queue system, listening to an electronic jingle playing“ Welcome To My World ”. Why don’t they hire more people? ‘
Another said: “Terrible customer service. Get [got] disabled after waiting at least 30 minutes [the] phone. ‘
The Santander Trustpilot’s overall score is a meager 1.4 out of five, which is worse than most competitors, although no bank gets particularly good scores.
For example, the Nationwide Building Society gets 1.8, and Metro Bank (the doyen of good customer service banks) gets an average score of 2.3.
The former CEO says such poor service from Santander is unacceptable and should be on the radar of the regulator.
I asked Santander via email to answer (I avoided the phone for the reasons listed above). I’m still waiting for an answer.
Still chasing the FCA for Woodford
Last Thursday I sent my regular letter to the Financial Control Service. “Are there any updates on the planned publication of the Woodford Defeat Report,” I asked, referring to his ongoing (and painfully slow) investigation into the events that led to the suspension of Woodford Equity Income Investment Fund in June 2019.
A pendant that crystallized losses for hundreds of thousands of investors.
Thursday in response is not a wild bird. I was a little angry, but then realized I was a little unfair. Last week, its employees went on strike over wages, so expecting a quick response was wrong.
He redeemed himself on Friday when he confirmed that Woodford’s investigation remains a “priority”.
I will continue to ask for information about the investigation. Victims of the investment crash in Woodford may claim that FCA staff seem to have been on constant strike since June 2019. I can’t comment.
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