An ongoing comprehensive survey of business experiences of banking services has found bank recommendation levels improving among small to medium enterprises (SMEs). In 2015 26% of SMEs said they would recommend their bank to others, up from 23% in 2014*. The detailed survey of over 12,000 UK SMEs also found the firms most likely to report improved satisfaction tended to be younger and larger businesses.
The Business Banking Insight report (BBI) was conducted in two waves in the first and second halves of 2015 by ICM and is overseen by both the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Federation of Small Businesses (fsb).
Businesses created in the last five years, from 2010 to date, are much more likely to consider moving their business current account in the next six months, at 15%, compared with just 8% of firms founded before 2000 (and a national average of 10%). This is despite higher-than-average business current account satisfaction among younger businesses: 33% are satisfied with their Business Current Account, compared to the national average of 30%.
When comparing sectors, only 20% of businesses in the financial services sector are likely to recommend their bank against a 26% average for all firms. Businesses in mining, utilities and accommodation and food services were the happiest with 31% keen to recommend*.
Geographically, those in Northern Ireland had the highest levels of recommendation with their banks, at 28%, compared with those in Wales, down at 22%. This shows large moves since 2014 when the recommendation figures were 21% and 25% respectively.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is conducting an investigation into SME banking and has highlighted the importance of providing businesses with information on service quality. The Business Banking Insight website offers free access to the full results of the survey, allowing SME businesses to see feedback and ratings about banks from other business in their sectors and regions: http://www.businessbankinginsight.co.uk/
Mike Cherry, FSB National Policy Director and spokesperson for the BBI, said: “The results show the banks are making some progress in improving their offer to younger and larger SME business customers. They also show how the wider industry can continue to have lessons to learn from newer banks in the market. This is a clear demonstration that improving competition in the business banking market can lead and should lead to improved services for all small businesses. We trust all the banks will use these BBI’s findings to give business customers the service they expect. We encourage small businesses to go to the BBI website to find the banking services that suit their business.”
John Longworth, BCC Director General and spokesperson for the BBI, said: “It is reassuring that there has been progress in improving customer satisfaction among businesses, but there is clearly more to be done. Competition among lenders is driving this change. Businesses look to other businesses, and we would like to see the CMA promote initiatives like the Business Banking Insight, which lets SMEs across the UK learn from the experiences of their peers before choosing products and services. SMEs are the backbone of British industry and the BBI initiative is designed to offer additional support to this vital part of the UK economy.”
Source - The FSB