Property owners with mortgages in the UK are twice as happy with the service they get from small lenders than big lenders, according to a new report.
And it is telephone and internet bank First Direct that emerges as offering the best service, with the highest customer satisfaction rating of 91%, according to the report from consumer magazine Which? Money.
In second place was One Account, which scored 77% with Coventry Building Society in third place with 75%. Consumers were least satisfied with Halifax, part of Lloyds Banking Group, which received only a 45% satisfaction rating.
Of the big lenders Nationwide came out the best. Other well known names such as Northern Rock, Abbey, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland faired badly with 47%, 50%, 52% and 53% respectively. Yorkshire Building Society, which was second last year with 79%, dropped seven places and came out with just a 61% rating this year.
Overall, 85% of Which? member surveyed said that they were either very or fairly satisfied with the customer service they received from their lender the last time they contacted it. The most common reason for contacting their lender was to make an overpayment on their mortgage.
They were most satisfied with are the clarity of their mortgage statements and how well they are kept up to date with changes in interest rates and were least satisfied with how well they are kept informed about better deals that may be available to them from their lender, with 27% of those surveyed saying they are dissatisfied with this aspect of service.
Despite the economic upheavals of the last year and the crisis in the property market the overall level of satisfaction has increased from 58% last year to 62% this year. ‘In general lenders have done better on all the aspects of service we measured,’ said Which?
The Council of Mortgage Lenders said it is pleased that people are more satisfied with their mortgage lender than they were a year ago. ‘It is good news that consumers are increasingly satisfied with their lenders. Lenders have been working hard, under very challenging market conditions, to communicate effectively with their borrowers and treat them fairly. These efforts are bearing fruit, as this survey reinforces,’ said CML director general Michael Coogan.