Raising Finance

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Finance directors’ satisfaction with UK banks dips

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With 300 completed questionnaires already in, this year’s FDs’ Satisfaction Survey – which started back in 2001 – is already throwing out some fascinating insights. But there’s still one month for FDs and other senior decision-makers in British businesses to tell us how happy they are with their banks, auditors, advisers and software vendors.

The scores awarded by client FDs will decide the supplier winners at the FDs’ Excellence Awards, in association with ICAEW, on May 9. 

Banks: less happy

Could last year’s strong showing by Lloyds Banking Group – which won the bank of the year for the eighth year running – be under threat? So far this year all high-street banks’ satisfaction scores across the board look like they’re lower, perhaps reflecting the ongoing struggle to rebuild their balance sheets at the expense of business lending.

“They are not relationship managers but salespeople,” one finance director complains.

As things stand, the average score for the big four banks is lower than for the fourth-placed bank in the 2012 awards. That means THAT smaller banks – such as Allied Irish, Cooperative, Coutts and Handelsbanken, all currently showing strong satisfaction levels – are in with a shout if they can muster enough respondents to the survey to get onto the shortlist.

There are positives for the banks. This year’s Satisfaction survey also invites finance directors to name outstanding relationship managers who show traditional virtues of business understanding and attentiveness. One such manager is Julie Wagstaff from the Cooperative Bank in Manchester, who was highlighted by an FD customer: “always there when we need her to sort things out and keeps in contact in the meantime… a gem.”

Nigel Tyrrell at Unity Trust Bank in Birmingham is another bank manager to receive a specific testimonial. One of his clients told us he has: “a personal, proactive approach with a good understanding of charities and our circumstances. Generally the friendly personal service from Unity Trust Bank makes it easy to deal with them at all levels.”

You can also nominate individual finance directors for one of our FDs’ Excellence Awards:

  • Inspirational FD
  • Private Company FD
  • Young FD
  • FD of the Future

The process is straightforward. The deadline is March 1, 2013.

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