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May 30, 2014

New website could help small firms move banks

New website could help small firms move banksThe Business Banking Insight (BBI) website has gone live this week, with feedback from UK SMEs on how well banks perform and information to help them shop around for the best service.

The BBI data has been gathered via a survey of more than 5,000 businesses, from sole traders to firms with up to 249 employees. The research was carried out by ICM and it ranks 74 bank brands using a mixture of percentage and five-star rating systems.

Key findings include:

  • sole traders gave banks an average current account satisfaction score of 60% but over half of the reviewed banks received a 3-star rating or below for credit approachability;
  • businesses with between one and nine employees gave banks an average current account satisfaction score of 60%;
  • businesses with more than nine employees gave banks an average current account satisfaction score of 65%, but they did not give a five-star rating to any one bank for value.

Commissioned by the chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, the website is supported by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and has an advisory group that includes HM Treasury, British Bankers Association (BBA), Royal Bank of Scotland, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

George Osborne, said: "A key part of our long-term economic plan is increasing competition and choice in banking and ensuring Britain's SMEs get the best possible service from their bank. This new survey will be a powerful tool for these businesses, providing them with the means to see who's up for the challenge and who isn't."

John Allan, FSB national chairman, said that he expected "the banks to use these results to up their game and work harder to support their business customers' ambitions. While some are performing well, these results show there is still work to be done in a number of areas."

Anthony Browne, BBA chief executive, said: "Whether large or small, every bank will want to be at the top of these ratings so this can only help spur competition between banks."

The research will be repeated every six months and all findings will be available on the BBI website.

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