UK banks inclusive, but service quality poor: World Bank

UK banks inclusive, but service quality poor: World Bank

The UK’s banks are failing to provide holistic products and services to clients, despite the UK having high levels of financial inclusion, two influential global reports have claimed.

Cap Gemini’s 36-page World Retail Banking 2015 report tracked the service offered by banks to customers using a Customer Experience Index.

While the index increased among UK customers from 73.5 per cent to 76.3 per cent over the past year, the report showed that customers were increasingly unhappy with the service levels.

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Cap Gemini singled out the UK’s account-switching guarantee as an example of good practice, but it also found customers around the world were more likely to look beyond their banks when seeking other financial products.

The report, which included responses from 16,000 customers across 32 countries, said: “Perhaps the most foreboding finding of our 2015 survey was the large decrease across the globe in the likelihood of customers buying another product from their primary bank.”

Meanwhile, the World Bank’s Policy Research Working Paper, The Global Findex Database 2014 Measuring Financial Inclusion around the World, found that the UK was one of the regions noted as having a high level of financial inclusion.

Some 99 per cent of all UK adults had access to a current account, as did 98 per cent of the poorest 40 per cent of households.

Globally, it found that the number of people without a bank account fell 20 per cent to 2bn.

According to the 90-page report, more needed to be done to drive financial inclusion among women and the poorest in society.

It said financial inclusion had been broadly recongised as critical in reducing poverty and achieving inclusion was vital to economic growth.

According to the World Bank, while 38 per cent of adults did not have a bank account, only 4 per cent said the only reason for not having one was because they did not want one.

However, Sean Harrison, analyst at Datamonitor Financial, said that while the figures showed a staggering drop in the number of under-banked consumers across the globe, it was unclear how it had improved their economic wellbeing.

Adviser view

Josephine Long, a financial planner with Rotherham-based Aeon Financial said: “The financial crisis has brought out a greater mistrust of banks. We do see the odd client come in who has a substantial amount of money but will not use a bank because they often feel banks try and sell them things they don’t need, such as a credit card or loan.”

“However a bank account is a first step to financial empowerment and is just the start when it comes to investing or saving.”