Q. I am looking to change banks because I am fed up with poor service. Which banks offer the best service? JL
A. The consumer magazine Which? gave the Co-operative Bank the award of best financial services provider for 2009 – mostly for being prudent and ethical. It has also been ranked highly in awards for customer service.
The Financial Ombudsman has just published a list of complaints lodged against banks. The largest banks are likely to generate the most complaints. But it is noticeable that banking giant HSBC generates less complaints than some smaller competitors. The most complained against banks were Barclays (8,283 complaints between January and June this year); Lloyds TSB (6,947); Bank of Scotland (5,804); Abbey (2,493); NatWest (2,379); MBNA (2,298); and HSBC (2,177). Two Lloyds TSB businesses (Black Horse Ltd and Lloyds TSB Insurance) had more than nine out of ten complaints upheld, as did Capital One and Loans.co.uk.
Of the Northern Ireland specialist banks, the Bank of Ireland generated 336 complaints; AIB, including First Trust, 90 complaints; and Ulster Bank 67. There were fewer than 30 complaints against Northern Bank, so it was not listed in the complaint table.