His latest political whim to force banks to sell branches to ‘help competition’ is a blatant exercise in leveraging banks’ poor reputation in the consumers’ eyes. “Hey, look at me guys, I’m forcing banks to sell branches, come and play for the red team because we’re having a go at banks now.”. Utter dumbfounded rubbish.
As a consumer of financial products, my clear priority is the affordability. I don’t take a mortgage because I’m jumping on a moral high horse and using a small hip ‘social-bank’ that’s diversifying the market , I take a mortgage with a provider because it’s cheap. Simple.
Now Mr Milliband, how do you get things cheap? I’ll refer you to the largest retailer on the planet… Wallmart. They are the cheapest provider of goods because they buy the most, it’s a simple equation, the more you buy, the cheaper it gets. WallMart and subsequently Asda in the UK can then pass on these smaller costs to us and in turn have become enormous – a self-perpetuating cycle. Yes, there’s a whole other debate on how hard suppliers should be squeezed, but as long as there’s other similar providers in the market, food will remain cheap and suppliers paid fairly.
Now onto my next point, the branch network of any high street bank attracts a proportionately small segment of it’s overall customer base. Will closing branches reduce the size of a bank? Of course not. If anything it’ll dissolution the customers not with the banks, but with the government itself. For example:
Dear Mr Customer,
I’m sorry to have to write to you with bad news. After we’ve maintained a physical presence in your town for x donkeys years, Ed and his merry band of puerile followers have made us close your convenient local branch.
I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that despite having all your financial products with us, including Mortgages, Loans, Credit Cards, Savings and a few insurance policies, Ed is putting a new shiny gover-bank here that’ll cost twice as much, the staff won’t know what’s going on and will have no established reputation for you to trust with the most expensive products you manage.
If however, this doesn’t sound like an acceptable proposition, you can continue to bank with us as you’ve always done. Don’t worry, we’ve still got a branch in the town centre that we’ll keep open for you at the weekend because of all this.
Feel free to vote Tory, just in case you can’t be bothered with the agro.
Yours ever faithfully,
Mr long established banker.
Here we go, another ill-considered political fad, that will not result in any actual change. Just a whole bunch of effort.
Banks are getting there. Customer satisfaction is going up incrementally every month, and there’s a huge shift towards being a customer centric sector, making strides ahead of utility providers. A big push has just been through on increasing competition, the seven day switching proposition. Actually, as it turns out, people are generally speaking quite happy with their bank. They’re by no means delighted, but then who gets excited to phone the bank?
Go play with something else Ed, you’re trying to fix something that’s not actually broken.