Coronavirus: UK homeowners say they've been 'let down' by banks

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·2-min read
Brits need to be more vigliant . ( Ian West/PA Wire/PA Images)
Nearly a quarter of Brits plan to switch banks due to mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, study finds. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire/PA Images

UK homeowners believe they have been let down by their bank’s handling of COVID-19, research suggests.

A fifth (19%) of UK homeowners have lost faith in their bank due to the “poor support” it has provided them during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey of 1,262 people by Butterfield Mortgages.

This figure rises to half of those who have purchased a property in 2020, the study found.

A quarter of homeowners said their banks have not been “proactive” in providing advice to help them manage their finances during the pandemic.

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As a result, a similar number (23%) plan to transfer some or all of their money to another bank or financial services firm in the next 12 months.

The research found nearly a third (31%) of banking customers are frustrated by their bank’s reliance on chatbots and automated services.

In fact, more than a third (36%) of homeowners are worried their local bank branch could shut in the coming months.

“Homeowners across the UK are clearly frustrated by the way they have been treated by their banks during the pandemic, and this has led to a confidence crisis,” said Alpa Bhakta, CEO of Butterfield Mortgages.

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“There’s no denying COVID-19 has posed significant challenges for banks, large and small. Nonetheless, [the] research shows some firms have struggled when it comes to delivering the same level of customer service experienced before the pandemic.

“During these difficult times, banks cannot overlook the importance of delivering the same high standard of professional services.

“If they fail to adapt their services to cater for the ‘new normal’, there is a risk they could lose customers to rival firms.”