High street banks losing out to mutuals: Greenlight
More people in the UK are going to mutual societies and independent websites instead of high-street banks for help with their finances, research into online search behaviour has claimed.
The 25-page Retail Banking report by media marketing agency Greenlight, found that independent websites and, in particular, the UK’s largest mutual, Nationwide, have overtaken the banks in terms of where consumers go to for their financial information.
Halifax, Nationwide and Barclays were the only three providers in the ‘most visible’ top five, which was calculated according to the most searched for websites and most visible natural search listings on Google UK.
The report said: “Nationwide saw its share of visibility increase by 7 percentage points, compared to January this year, and it ascended our league table from sixth to fourth place.”
By contrast, banking giant HSBC came last in the table of 20, with just 9 per cent of the share of visibility.
For mortgages, Nationwide showed even more consumer interest, with its share of visibility increasing by 15 per cent since the previous report, leaping up in the league table from sixth to third place, behind Moneysupermarket.com and Halifax.
In the social media category, Halifax was ranked as the most visible brand taken from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube users, followed by Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Nationwide.
The report also showed that bank and savings accounts made up 25 per cent of the total 2.4m search keywords entered into Google. Mortgages stood at 30 per cent.
For specific search terms, “mortgage calculator” was the most popular, accounting for 13 per cent of all searches made, while searches for the term “credit card” were, at 5 per cent, at their highest levels since October 2011.
Graham Worrall, director of Dundee-based Cyber IFA, said: “Accessing financial services online is obviously a way forward for the industry.
“Our business is much more than just the marketing element online. Our website and advisory model is constructed very much like an internet bank in the way that a client can obtain advice through a web-based platform, and then communicate with us and view their investments or other financial products in a cyber-fashion.”