Why I'm leaving NatWest
I've been a customer of NatWest for 30 years and I've never complained. But after last week's shambles it's time to move. I don't expect much from my bank, but I would like to be able to access my salary with confidence and pay my bills and not see outrageous risks being taken - not with technology upgrades, investment banking or mortgages being offered to people who would never be able to pay them back.
Today, when I view my online account I have no idea if what I'm seeing is actually the money that I actually have or if payments have really been made. That's basic stuff and if you can't rely on a bank for the basics, there's very little left it can do.
The banking industry seems set for a period of massive change.
We've just announced the most trusted financial services providers in the Moneywise Customer Service Awards, which highlighted that NatWest had significantly improved its ratings over the past three years.
While parent group Royal Bank of Scotland retained the aura of the condemned man, NatWest seemed to have shaken off these shackles and was fast moving up the rankings thanks to its credit crisis response of being overtly customer focused – I can still see the NatWest ‘Helpful Banking' slogan.
Well, we now know it was papering over the cracks and one software change has led to the most cataclysmic failure of a financial technology platform, which has disadvantaged and caused stress for millions of its customers and it can offer no guarantees of when it will have solved all the problems caused.
In addition, we now see RBS joining Barclays in facing the potential threat of massive fines, after being linked to manipulation of inter-bank lending rates.
Trusted banks used to bear the names of their founders – the only names associated with banks these days are Diamond, Hester and, of course, Goodwin. It seems only mutuals, such as the exceptional Co-operative Bank and Nationwide, and well-managed customer- focused brands such as First Direct can lead the way.
For banking generally perhaps one of the best pieces of news to break this week, perhaps the only good news is that the Co-op are again the group favoured to take on the rump of 632 branches being disposed of by Lloyds banking group. They genuinely seem to put the customer first, more power to them.
In our Customer Service Awards, we also saw the onward rise of peer-to-peer lenders, with Zopa and Ratesetter identified as the most trusted providers of loans, through which people cut out the banks and directly support each other and enjoy more competitive rates.
This is what some of our readers had to say about them: "It's about people helping one another, not lining the pockets of the big banks."Another reader commented: "They helped me when others turned their back."
There aren't many banks we can say that about.