Nationwide, HSBC, Santander and Monzo big winners as customers ditch TSB and NatWest

Latest figures show the majority of banks are losing customers, with one building society making huge gains.

Almost a million current accounts were switched from one bank to another in 2018.

Furthermore, the new figures from banking association Bacs don’t include switches where the customer’s old bank account was left open.

The Current Account Switch Service, a bank initiative making it easier to move, now claims to complete 99.4% of switches in a seven working day timescale, although some customers are still being left out.

Earn up to £150 cash by switching banks: the best bonuses out there

Which banks are the winners and losers?

The data from Bacs reveals the banks and building societies we are ditching and joining for Q3 2018, which covers July to September.

The preceding months saw TSB suffer serious IT problems, which are likely to have pushed some of the bank’s customers to switch.

Here are the switching figures, with banks ranked by the biggest net gains in customers:

Brand

Gains

Losses

Net gains/losses

Nationwide

40,656

8,883

31,773

HSBC (inc. first direct and M&S Bank)

38,477

22,047

16,430

Santander

23,601

16,118

7,483

Monzo Bank

5,588

225

5,363

Starling Bank

2,362

246

2,116

Tesco Bank

1,366

780

586

Bank of Scotland

4435

3877

558

Triodos Bank

306

22

284

Low Volume Participants*

1,068

1,191

-123

Danske

481

721

-240

Bank of Ireland

144

604

-460

Ulster Bank

291

946

-655

AIB Group (UK) p.l.c

59

730

-671

Clydesdale Bank

1,686

6,118

-4,432

Halifax

18,808

23,896

-5,088

Lloyds Bank

13,293

18,627

-5,334

Barclays

11,061

16,532

-5,471

Co-operative

515

7,146

-6,631

Royal Bank of Scotland

4,531

12,674

-8,143

NatWest

9,719

22,233

-12,514

TSB

1,880

18,022

-16,142

*Low Volume Participants comprises Arbuthnot Latham, C Hoare & Co, Commerzbank, Cumberland Building Society, Hampden & Co, Investec, Reliance Bank, Spectrum Financial Group, Think Money Ltd, Virgin Money and Weatherbys Bank switches.

The winners

It’s been another great quarter for Nationwide which, added to the last quarter, gained more than 85,000 customers in six months.

Nationwide’s Flex Direct current account has one of the highest interest rates in the market, 5%, an equally high-paying regular saver account and an interest-free overdraft.

Crucially, few customers left Nationwide, unlike Santander and the HSBC group of banks. The numbers don’t show whether it was HSBC, first direct, or M&S Bank which took on or lost the most customers.

App-based banks Monzo and Starling continued to take on customers, with their offer of both convenience and fee-free holiday spending.

Interestingly, this was the first quarter in which Triodos Bank, an ethical bank, took on enough customers to be named in its own right (as opposed to being counted within ‘Low Volume Participants’).

Triodos is the only UK ethical bank to offer a current account, in addition to savings and investments.

Thinking about changing current account? Compare your options

The losers

TSB had another terrible quarter, again losing tens of thousands of customers.

This is despite TSB’s Classic Plus account offering an excellent 5% interest rate, with no fee. TSB claims that around 22,000 people actually joined the bank in this period, with the figures not recognised by the switching service.

Perhaps more revealing was the large number of large high street banks clustered towards the bottom of the table.

Clydesdale, Halifax, Lloyds, Barclays, RBS and NatWest all lost thousands of customers, on balance, despite many joining these banks during the quarter.

Read more: the best bank accounts for switching bonuses

Do switching incentives really make a difference?

Very possibly – NatWest, for example, went from to top to the bottom of the table when it stopped offering cash to switchers last year (it has now resumed doing so).

Yet what unites the banks consistently appearing at the top of switching tables are excellent account features and customer service.

A Government-backed survey of bank customer service last year named first direct, Nationwide and Santander in the top five for customer service.

It's worth noting here that while we never believe anyone should stick with a poor-value account or suffer rubbish customer service, it's not always a terrible thing if you don't switch.

It might just be you're happy with your current bank and, while you're always looking around, nothing better has come along yet.

If you are fed up with your bank, compare current accounts on loveMONEY’s comparison site.

This article is updated when new figures are released

Read these next:

The best bank accounts for cashback 

How to claim compensation for mis-sold packaged bank accounts

Debit cards that are free to use while abroad: avoid foreign usage fees and charges on your holidays

 

 

 

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