Co-operative Bank and Smile come up trumps in BBC Watchdog current accounts survey

18 February 2008 / by Rachael Stiles

A recent survey of current accounts carried out by the BBC's consumer affair programme Watchdog saw strong results for The Co-operative Bank and its online subsidiary Smile, which came in third and second, respectively.

More than 13,000 viewers of the televisions programme took part in the survey, which asked them to rate and comment upon the customer service practices of 45 different banks and building societies. Internet bank First Direct took the top spot in the survey, but The Co-operative Bank came way out in front of all other high street banks, such as Barclays, Lloyds TSB, Royal bank of Scotland, and Halifax.

Respondents to the survey were asked to choose the bank which they use most frequently or feel the strongest about, from a list of 45 banks and building societies that offer current accounts and day-to-day banking.

Most Co-operative customers rated their bank highly for being the one that has improved the most over the time they have been banking with them, with 60 per cent saying that the current service it offers is either improved or much improved.

Smile's level of customer satisfaction was even more praising, as more than 90 per cent of its customers said that they would recommend Smile internet banking to their friends and family; the same figure also said that they were happy with the level of clarity and transparency in its policies and charges.

The Co-operative also performed well with customer complaints – a much higher than average proportion of customers who bank with either The Co-operative Bank or Smile said that any problem they had was easily, or very easily, resolved.

The Co-operative still managed to perform well in the survey, despite the fact that the financial institutions' ethical banking practices were not taken into account, an arena in which The Co-operative has been a frontrunner since the launch of its unique customer-led ethical policy in 1992. Click here to find a range of high interest savings account deals currently available.

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