We’ve been reading the news that from September 16th we’ll be able to change our bank account provider very easily in just 7 days. It looks like it will just be a case of going on the switching service website and choosing who you want to move to – your new bank will then pick up everything from there and even transfer your direct debits and standing orders.
It seems like a great idea, especially as most people these days only change their bank account on average once in 26 years. There are probably a lot of people who have never changed in their life, and are probably with whatever provider their parents set them up with when they were teenagers. We’ve been asking an interesting question in the office – why exactly are you with the bank you are with? Probably just because it was closest to where you lived when you opened the account, and it’s just too much hassle to change. The one interesting thing I can see happening with this new service, especially as online, phone and mobile banking is so huge now (when did you last actually visit a branch?) is that people can choose their bank in the same way that they would choose their regular supermarkets and clothes shops. Of course, you will still have people choosing by proximity or incentives (many banks will be offering cash if you switch your account to them), but many people may now choose based on their values and branding. The Reliance bank, run by the Salvation Army, is currently the smallest bank in the country with just one branch, however it may see a surge of new people who will sign up to align themselves with the ethical aspect of the Salvation Army. Michelle is already looking forward to being able to switch away from Lloyds, who are mired in PPI scandal and investment banking crisis.
Michelle is a huge fan of the branding for the M&S Bank. Marks and Spencer have completely pitched perfectly at their target market using taglines such as “good, old fashioned banking”, thus building on the reputation in the fashion market and appealing to consumers needs for trust and honesty that has been lost of the recession years. Let’s be realistic that they have also identified that they have a terrific database of clients that buy online and in store through store cards that has built an enviable potential client list. By providing in store bank counter services they are also providing banking options to suit their customers, i.e. weekends and out of standard banking hours. The visual communications are highly focussed on this target market, with images of real people (not cartoons!), all dressed beautifully (in M&S no doubt) with supporting brand language that appeals to their target market 30+, primarily female. In fact, Michelle is actually going to take a closer look at switching to the M&S offering, their brand values are more aligned to hers than her current provider Lloyds TSB.
So mark 16th September in your diaries!
Article by Victoria, who only cares about easy-to-use online banking.