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Half of homebuyers ‘dissatisfied’ by banks’ response to pandemic

Half of homebuyers ‘dissatisfied’ by banks’ response to pandemic

Half of those who bought a property this year feel disillusioned with their bank due to “poor support” provided during the pandemic, according to research.

A survey of 1,262 homeowners by Butterfield Mortgages Limited found one in five (19 per cent) had “lost faith” in their bank due to “poor support” it provided during the coronavirus, with the figure rising to 50 per cent among those (202 respondents) who bought a property this year.

The research, conducted between August 28 and September 1, also found 25 per cent of homeowners felt their banks had not been proactive in providing advice to help them manage their finances during the pandemic.

Three in 10 (31 per cent) reported frustrations with their bank’s reliance on chatbots and automated services, as over a third (36 per cent) were worried their local bank branch could close in the coming months.

Alpa Bhakta, chief executive of Butterfield Mortgages, said that homeowners were “clearly frustrated” by how they had been treated by their banks during the pandemic.

Ms Bhakta said: “There’s no denying that Covid-19 has posed significant challenges for banks, large and small. Nonetheless, today’s research shows that some firms have struggled when it comes to delivering the same level of customer service experienced before the pandemic.

“During these difficult times, banks cannot overlook the importance of delivering the same high standard of professional services. If they fail to adapt their services to cater for the ‘new normal’, there is a risk they could lose customers to rival firms.”

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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