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Revealed: the best and worst financial brands

Nationwide tops our list of 48 financial brands, while many high-street banks score poorly for customer satisfaction and complaints handling

Best and worst financial brands

Nationwide is the UK’s best financial brand for customer satisfaction and complaints handling, according to new analysis from Which?

It’s been a good year for the building society, which topped our table of 48 banks and insurers with an overall score of 77%.

Its FlexDirect current account – which pays a generous 5% interest for a year – has proved a powerful switching incentive, helping Nationwide to attract more than 30,000 customers in the last three months of 2016.

Metro Bank, a Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) for savings, and AA, a WRP for credit cards, were both tied in second place with 75%.

However, our findings make unpleasant reading for many large high-street banks, with Lloyds finishing joint-bottom of our rankings alongside Danske Bank on 58%.

  • Join the conversation: what do you love – and hate – about your bank or insurer?

How did my bank do?

We’ve included the results of our analysis in the table below.

You can use the search bar to see how your bank or insurer did, or sort by the columns to find the best and worst companies for complaints or customer satisfaction.

You can see the full scores for each category in the larger table here.

  • Check out our guide on taking a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service

The most improved brands

Looking at our customer scores from two years ago reveals some interesting shifts in customer opinion.

Virgin Money is the most improved brand since 2015, jumping 29 places in our customer score rankings.

This is driven largely by a boost in satisfaction among its credit card customers, with many praising the ease with which they can manage their account online.

Co-operative Bank and Bank of Scotland both improved their customer scores by more than 20 places. However, the past two years haven’t been kind to some of the country’s biggest insurance brands.

Allianz has fallen 31 places since 2015, while Swiftcover and esure dropped 21 and 20 places respectively.

For some brands, though, it’s a worryingly familiar picture.

Britannia Building Society – bottom of our list in 2015 – finishes joint-bottom in this year’s customer score rankings alongside Allianz, while RBS rose just two places, from 45th in 2015 to 43rd this year.

  • Know your rights: see our guide on how to complain about your insurance provider

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What happened to the big banks?

Whether you look at customer satisfaction or complaints handling, our analysis shows the largest high street banks are lagging behind.

Barclays, RBS, NatWest, Halifax, HSBC and Bank of Scotland all finished in the bottom half of our table, while Lloyds came joint-last.

By comparing our total scores for complaints and customer satisfaction with market share (by share of those who said they had a main current account with this provider), we can see how many of the larger banks failed to achieve high customer scores:

There are a number of possible explanations. One theory is that customers of bigger banks are more likely to be affected by bank branch closures (as these banks had more branches to begin with).

Many of the respondents to our satisfaction surveys said this was a key concern; it’s also worth noting that Nationwide – our best-performing brand – has committed to keeping its branch network.

Meanwhile, several big banks – Lloyds in particular – received low complaints scores because of the large volume of complaints per customer. Since 2009, the bank has paid out an estimated £17bn in Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims.

  • Change banks in seven days: read our guide on the current account switching service

Our scoring system explained

We’ve scored 48 banks and insurers based on customer satisfaction across six product areas: current accounts, savings, credit cards, mortgages, car insurance and home insurance. These scores are based on more than 27,000 survey responses.

And for the first time, we’ve also generated a complaints score for each brand, based on complaints figures from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Our overall complaints score is a combination of scores across three categories: how many complaints a brand received (per 1,000 policies/accounts), how quickly it resolved complaints, and how many complaints went in favour of the consumer.

By combining the overall complaints score with the customer score, we’ve compiled a comprehensive picture of the best and worst financial brands.

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