Sunday, 27 October 2013

The State of the Nation(wide)

So farewell then, Co-Operative Bank. Much as I'd like Euan Sutherland to be right and David Boyle to be wrong, it looks as if the Co-Op is about to pay for its botched takeover of Britannia with its soul.

So where do you go if you're fed up with the big banks, but still want to put your money with an organisation that has a nationwide presence? A while ago I suggested the last big mutual now standing, Nationwide Building Society as an option - not ideal, but better than the average high street bank (according only to me, an ordinary customer with no inside knowledge of finance). As far as I know from direct experience, their customer service is no worse than your average high street bank (which isn't saying very much, I know).

Anecdote aside, the Nationwide comes currently somewhere in the middle of the Move Your Money scorecard, which ranks British banks and other financial institutions according to these criteria. Plenty of room for improvement, I grant, but:
  • at least they're not sitting right at the bottom of the table with all the big high street banks
  • there are plenty of better institutions, but they're all pretty small, niche, or local - say what you like about Nationwide, but at least it does what it says on the tin.
There is one other well-known name up there in the mid-table, Virgin Money, although I can't bring myself to recommend them on the grounds that their current corporate strapline ('banking with a bit of soul'), along with the image of Richard Branson's grinning face, fills me with the urge to smash the plate glass windows of every branch I see.