HSBC has fallen into last place in our latest banking poll with just 38% of its current account customers rating it 'great' for customer service, while First Direct has extended its six-year reign at the top of the table with 91% giving it the thumbs up.
The chasm between the two banks is all the more striking because they're owned by the same parent company, HSBC Bank Plc. And HSBC was rated so poorly it even managed to oust Barclays from the bottom of the table, where it's sat for our past four polls.
We survey MoneySavingExpert users twice a year to see how they rate banks' customer service, with more than 8,000 responding to this month's poll.
The latest results come in a tumultous week in banking, with Santander revealing it's slashing the headline interest rate on its flagship 123 account to 1.5% from November. Our poll found Santander has slipped down the rankings to fourth place, having come third in our previous poll in February and second in past years.
If you're unhappy with the service from your bank, take action and switch. You can find the best deals in our Best Bank Accounts guide.
The full results
Here are the full poll results for major banks which received 100 votes or more:
Current account service rating August 2016 (results and rankings from February 2016 in brackets)
|1 (1)||First Direct||91% (91%)||6% (6%)||3% (3%)|
|2 (2)||Nationwide Building Society||79% (77%)||17% (19%)||4% (4%)|
|3 (4)||Smile and Co-op||72% (70%)||23% (24%)||5% (6%)|
|4 (3)||Santander (i)||71% (72%)||23% (22%)||6% (6%)|
|5 (5)||TSB||71% (69%)||22% (24%)||7% (7%)|
|6 (6)||Halifax (ii)||58% (60%)||34% (30%)||8% (10%)|
|7 (7)||Lloyds||50% (54%)||35% (34%)||15% (12%)|
|8 (10)||Bank of Scotland||49% (49%)||35% (32%)||16% (19%)|
|9 (12)||Royal Bank of Scotland||48% (44%)||33% (34%)||19% (22%)|
|10 (8)||NatWest||46% (50%)||36% (36%)||18% (14%)|
|11 (9)||Clydesdale and Yorkshire||44% (49%)||37% (34%)||19% (17%)|
|12 (13)||Barclays Bank||43% (42%)||36% (38%)||21% (20%)|
|13 (11)||HSBC||38% (43%)||44% (38%)||18% (19%)|
|8,040 votes in total. Ranked based on two points for each 'great' %, one for each 'OK' % and zero for 'poor'. When scores are tied, the bank with the better 'great' rating goes ahead. We've excluded banks with fewer than 100 votes. (i) This is an average of the 123 account and other Santander accounts. (ii) This is an average of the Reward account and other Halifax accounts.|
'Customer service really counts'
Guy Anker, managing editor of MoneySavingExpert, says: "This tumultuous week in banking, with Santander 123's rate slashed and others threatening to follow, shows the importance of keeping on top of your current account.
"And here, customer service really counts. Whether you bank online or in a branch, this is the one financial product you do genuinely have a real day-to-day interaction with.
"Our index shows once again the strength of First Direct's service. However, the bottom of the pile is dominated by many high street banks. This should be seen as a stark warning that they risk losing customers if they don't raise their game.
"Anyone unhappy with the service they're getting from their bank needs to ditch it, especially as some of the best deals are from banks with good service. Switching is no longer the chore it used to be – all your direct debits and standing orders can be moved within seven working days, and any payments made in error to your old account will be auto-forwarded."
What do our top and bottom scorers say?
Table-toppers First Direct told us: "Since the day we started back in 1989, we set out to be sensitive and intuitive to the needs of real people and their everyday needs.
"Almost 27 years later, we continue to work hard to maintain this approach, so we're pleased to see that this has been recognised by our customers once again in the latest MoneySavingExpert poll."
A spokesperson for HSBC says: "We are disappointed to hear the results from the latest MoneySavingExpert poll. We always want to provide the best possible experience for our customers and we welcome the opportunity to hear how we could improve their experience when banking with HSBC."