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First Direct tops latest official banking league table

First Direct tops latest official banking league table

First Direct has pipped Metro Bank to the post to top the latest official banking service league table, while RBS took the wooden spoon for the fourth time. 

Since August 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority has required banks to publish information on how likely people would be to recommend them to friends, relatives or other businesses. Banks have to update this information every six months.

First Direct and Metro Bank have been tussling for the top spot since the tables were first compiled. First Direct won the first but Metro Bank claimed the second, with them sharing the crown in the most recent set of results in August 2019. 

Eighty-three per cent of First Direct customers said they'd recommend the bank to friends and family, with 82% of Metro Bank customers willing to recommend it. RBS came last again, with 46% of its customers saying they'd recommend the bank.

First Direct also topped the latest MoneySavingExpert.com banking customer service poll in August – it's only missed out on the top spot once since 2010. Metro Bank didn't get enough votes to be included in our poll rankings, though it got the highest percentage of 'great' votes, with 94% of the 87 users who voted for it choosing this option.  

If you're not happy with your bank's service, you could get a free £175 to switch. See our Best Bank Accounts guide for more info.

How did my bank fare?

The independent poll on customer service for banks in Great Britain was conducted between January 2019 and December 2019 by market research company Ipsos Mori.

More than 13,000 current account customers were asked how likely they would be to recommend their provider, their provider's online and app service, overdraft services and service in branch to friends and family. The results show the proportion of customers of each of the largest 16 providers who said they were "extremely likely" or "very likely" to recommend each service.

How likely customers are to recommend their bank

Provider Overall service Online and app service Overdraft service Branch service
First Direct 83% 83% 74% n/a (1)
Metro Bank 82% 85% 70% 84%
Nationwide 74% 79% 62% 80%
Santander 63% 78% 60% 66%
Lloyds 63% 78% 59% 71%
NatWest 61% 76% 56% 63%
HSBC 61% 74% 62% 70%
Barclays 61% 83% 59% 67%
Halifax 60% 80% 61% 67%
Bank of Scotland 58% 77% 48% 67%
The Co-operative Bank 56% 64% 56% 58%
Yorkshire Bank 56% 73% 49% 65%
Clydesdale Bank 56% 67% 48% 65%
TSB 55% 68% 58% 69%
Tesco Bank 49% 62% n/a (2) n/a (1)
RBS 46% 70% 51% 50%

About 865 customers a year are surveyed across Great Britain for each provider. Results are only published where at least 100 customers have provided an eligible score for that service in the survey period. (1) First Direct and Tesco Bank don't have branch networks. (2) Fewer than 100 customers gave an eligible score. 

Results are released every February and August. You can read more about the methods of the survey from Ipsos Mori.

There are separate results for Northern Ireland, in which Nationwide topped the overall rankings and AIB came bottom.

For more on how to switch, see Best Bank Accounts.

What do the banks say? 

Joe Gordon, head of First Direct, said: "We're delighted to be recognised for providing the highest standards of customer service in current accounts (overall service quality, and overdrafts). When it comes to making decisions about banking services we believe service quality is just as important as price for consumers."

An RBS spokesperson said: "We know that we can do more to improve the experience for customers and we are focused on doing more and doing better in order to provide the best possible service to customers, businesses and communities.

"We're investing in dedicated teams focused on making targeted improvements for customers in order to address the areas where our service falls short of expectations, such as introducing video banking and technology to help reduce queuing times in branches."