Author: David Webber
Fairbanking research shows improvements in the financial well-being of customers
Recent research by The Fairbanking Foundation reveals that a quarter of bank customers believe the image of retail banks has improved in the past year and 38% believe banks are more focused on customer needs. This is a sign of much needed progress for the financial services industry.
The Fairbanking Foundation was set up in 2008 to encourage and assist banking providers to improve the financial wellbeing of their customers. One of the ways it does this is via the Fairbanking Mark certification scheme, now recognised by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.
Helping banking customers manage their money
For a financial product to gain a Fairbanking mark, it must pass analysis by the Fairbanking Foundation. Plus, a significant percentage of banking customers must confirm they find the product useful for their financial well-being, in ways such as helping them to manage their money or reach their savings goals more effectively.
Intelligent Environments: the first to become ‘Fairbanking ready’
Last year, Intelligent Environments became the first vendor to be accredited by the Fairbanking Foundation as ‘Fairbanking ready’. We have been working closely with the foundation, encouraging providers to achieve a Fairbanking Mark, supporting the foundation’s target for the financial services industry to achieve an additional 15 marks by October 2015.
17 marks were awarded in 2015 to various providers for products such as ISAs, loans and credit and current accounts. This is a great result, meaning the industry has exceeded the target the foundation set last year. It’s clear that providers are increasingly focussed on developing tools and products to help their customers better manage their finances.
Focusing on customer’s needs to gain trust
However, there is still room for improvement. According to The Fairbanking Foundation’s research, 24% of consumers still believe there is a lack of focus on customer needs in the industry.
The banking industry should therefore remain steadfast in bringing products and services to market with the good of the public’s finances at their core, and consistently strive to improve its existing offerings to provide products that first and foremost serve the financial wellbeing of their customers.
Not only will this help banks to attract and retain customers, but will help individual banks to lead by example by leveraging public opinion through providing trusted, customer-centric offerings. The industry needs to work together in order to achieve the common goal of gaining and retaining consumer trust.