Santander voted worst for customer service

16 May 2011

Spanish-owned bank Santander has been voted as the worst financial services company for the second year in a row by Moneywise readers.

In total there were eight major banks in the bottom 20 companies, but with Santander receiving three times more votes than the next worst bank, the Spanish giant is fast becoming the bank its customers love to hate.

Over 12,000 people voted in Moneywise's Great British Customer Services survey which asked readers about the best and worst providers for service, based on their own experiences. Santander received 40% of comments about bad service, while Barclays came second with 11% and Halifax third with 9%.

Long queues in branches, unhelpful call centres and untrained staff were three of the most common complaints about Santander.

Subsequent improvement

Editor of Moneywise, Johanna Gornitzki, said: "While it is understandable that the banking giant's service took a nosedive when it initially tried to amalgamate its numerous businesses under one brand, there are no signs of subsequent improvement."

In response to the dismal results, Steve Williams, director of service quality at Santander, apologised to all those who have complained.

He said: "It's not our business strategy to have competitive products and poor customer service – that is certainly not our intention." 

But Gornitzki says the bank needs to prove that it is serious about customer service and make some fundamental changes. Until then she said "the complaints will keep on flooding in".


Problems at the bank began in 2004 when it first bought Abbey National, then Bradford & Bingley in September 2008, shortly followed by Alliance & Leicester in October 2008. Finally last year it agreed to take over 318 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland, likely to be completed in the first quarter of 2012.

The poll of Moneywise readers asked them to rate the financial service companies they use across a wide range of products, including current accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and car and travel insurance.

The research is also being used to award those companies that provide the best service and are most trusted by UK consumers as part of the third Moneywise Customer Service Awards. The shortlisted companies in each category have been published and the winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 23 June.

For details on all this year's Customer Service Awards winners go to

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