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How to choose a bank

(14 Posts)
TennesseeDays Wed 27-Apr-16 11:16:08

Not sure if I should have posted this here or in Ethical Living.
Anyway, we have moved area, and we now don't have a local branch of our bank in walking distance. So we are thinking about switching to a different bank.

We have been with the Co-operative bank up to now (for about 20 years) and like it's ethical standpoint, but we really want to be able to just pop into the bank when out shopping rather than drive to the nearest branch (I know with internet and phone banking we shouldn't really need this, but it's important to us!)

We would prefer building societies to banks, but we need to have a proper current account, debit cards etc. Ideally somewhere whose main focus is to provide a banking service to their customers rather than to make as much money as possible from unethical investments grin. I think we would have been happy with Nationwide, but there isn't a branch here either.

Can anyone recommend any other high street banks that are maybe a bit more ethical than others, but still offer good value?

cozietoesie Wed 27-Apr-16 11:32:43

Tennessee

I have never actually been to my branch and that's many many years since they relocated. (I recall driving past it once but we didn't stop.)

If you've found one that suits for some reason, I'd stick with it. You really don't need to attend your branch these days - although I hear what you say about liking to go there.

Bourdic Wed 27-Apr-16 11:43:52

I would have recommended Nationwide - do you really need a physical building? If I have a query their messaging system is great - very quick response and their online banking mobile app saves me hours!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Wed 27-Apr-16 11:46:15

Several banks have facilities available through the Post Office. Could that be an option?

Fwiw I never go to my bank other than to pay cheques in and you can post those to Co-op.

Eminybob Wed 27-Apr-16 11:49:26

YY to nationwide - they are a mutual so similar ethics to co op and they do the full banking facilities.

TennesseeDays Wed 27-Apr-16 12:39:15

We just like being able to go to the physical building. Maybe it's not necessary, I just feel when they are part of the high street, it would be nice to use them.
Especially as DC get older, they will have their own accounts and it is nice for them to be able to go in and pay in birthday money or withdraw it etc.

Maybe we should just set DC up with local building society accounts and keep our current account elsewhere <muses>

specialsubject Wed 27-Apr-16 12:42:41

no bank puts customers first. They are businesses and need to invest to stay in business.

ethical investment is also very much in the eye of the beholder. Wind farms (which the co-op website shows); all the parts made abroad, only viable because of subsidies, forests destroyed to build them, limited life and then not cleared up. Nuclear power; low carbon, low risk, lasts years.

The co-op policy on milk prices for farmers is also hedged about with eyewash.

be careful.

cozietoesie Wed 27-Apr-16 12:53:49

If I were you, I'd keep the existing account but open new ones for the DCs as needed. You might lose any 'introductory offers' , true, but the sheer hassle of opening a new adult bank account and changing references around (eg on the Internet) might well be an offset. I don't know what weight is put on account longevity any more.

I didn't deliberately not visit my branch - it was just that I moved around the country a great deal and never felt the need to. I do everything by Internet and phone these days.

specialsubject Wed 27-Apr-16 14:14:16

it's not really hassle to switch accounts; I've done it a couple of times recently for the incentives. The process is much easier than it used to be.

there's no weight given to longevity or loyalty, only new customers matter.

OP, do watch interest rates; kids do better than adults but most rates are derisory now.

cozietoesie Wed 27-Apr-16 15:39:53

I didn't mean 'at the bank' as much, special - more the thought of changing a variety of Internet payment references. I agree that it's easier now though. The various organisations have finally twigged that you find in banking a high degree of 'inertia' selling - once you have a customer, it's easier to keep them long term (and then really go for them.smile) Hence all the 'specials'.

I've noticed, though, that banks are starting to fight back on this. Several banks, my own included, are now offering incentives to long standing customers to tie them in a bit more. I just like to read all the small print. wink

Give it 10 years and we'll likely all be paying for banking services anyway so I guess I'm just kicking against the pricks. grin

TennesseeDays Wed 27-Apr-16 16:38:08

Thanks, lots to consider (more than I thought!)

I think we will open the DC their own accounts locally, and then give it a few months to see if we want to switch ourselves.

Have just had a look and the interest rates between different banks do vary quite a bit; I naively assumed they would be similar!

specialsubject Wed 27-Apr-16 17:12:10

absolutely not!

you can get 5%, 4% and 3% on varying amounts. Set up standing orders to meet minimum pay ins. Tesco bank pay 3% on current accounts with no required activity at all.

I will look up customer retention incentives, I didn't think anyone did that now.

cozietoesie Wed 27-Apr-16 17:23:05

Well, they don't call them that of course. wink

Readabook1 Sat 07-May-16 17:40:51

yes on the whole you get better interest on current accounts than savings ones even Isa. Some eg Santander 123 give 1% cashback as well for Direct Debits on fuel, water,phone ,mortgage, Council tax etcso I would consider this if I had a large mortgage especially.
There is no way I would do Internet banking .too many hackers about.

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