Money Insider: Is it always the banks' fault?

Rarely a day passes without there being a verbal attack on the banks; it seems to be in vogue to rant about excessive bonus payments, overcharging, branch closures and unsatisfactory customer service. Whilst some of the bad press is justified, sometimes we need to take a step back and remember that the customer isn't always getting a terrible deal and in the main has more than enough common sense to manage his or her affairs without being spoon-fed.

This week the consumer group Which? claimed that savers are being "kept in the dark" about poor savings rates by their bank and so are missing out on a total of £12bn in interest every year. I agree that there needs to be more transparency, and that savings rates should be clearly indicated on all customer correspondence and highlighted on bank websites, but not everybody has a sufficient level of savings that they feel would make it worth the effort of transferring their account.

Research from HSBC suggests that 30 per cent of adults have £249 or less in savings, so if you're in that category and decide to switch your £249 nest egg from an account paying 0.1% to the best instant access account at 2.90% (Post Office Online Saver) you'd be better off to the tune of £5.57 per year after tax, or 11p per week. Perhaps that helps to explain why everyone doesn't have that burning desire to move their account.

Those with a more substantial savings balance are more likely to monitor their monthly or annual interest payment and make use of the numerous newspaper best buy tables and comparison sites to find the best deals.

There's certainly no sign of a decline in savings-related activity on Moneynet.co.uk, and I'm sure that this ultra-low rate environment has prompted many more customers to take responsibility and dig out their own torches to find the best deals amongst the so-called savings darkness.



Coventry Building Society launches 'Poppy Bond'

Savers seeking a decent return on their money will welcome the latest version of the Poppy Bond from Coventry Building Society, paying 3.50 per cent gross/AER fixed until 30 April 2013. The rate on this two-and-a-half-year bond is very competitive when compared with the best 2-year fixed deal at 3.60 per cent and best 3-year bond at 4.15 per cent, both from Bank of Cyprus UK. As well as a good return for the customer, Coventry Building Society will donate 0.20 per cent of the total amount invested in this bond to the Royal British Legion. Previous bonds have raised over £3.8m for this cause since the poppy product range was launched two years ago. The much-valued work of the Royal British Legion is as important and relevant now as it has ever been, and let's hope this latest bond leads to another significant donation.

The Poppy Bond can be opened in branch, online or by phone and has a minimum balance requirement of £500. There is a monthly interest option of the account available, but as with the majority of fixed rate accounts, be aware that there is no access to your capital until maturity.

Mortgage latest

a further cut in rates now sees the First Direct five-year fixed-rate mortgage priced at 3.89 per cent to 65 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) with a £99 fee. ING recently launched a five-year fixed at 3.69 per centwith a £1,945 fee (60 per cent LTV), but First Direct's deal will prove a better bet for some due to the much lower fee.

These fixed rates may be low enough to tempt people into remortgaging. But with some homeowners enjoying standard variable rates as low as 2.5 per cent, it's no surprise remortgaging activity is at a 10-year low.

Barclays' new "great escape" variable rate deal is, however, competitively priced at 2.18 per cent plus base (currently 2.68 per cent) for those with at least a 30 per cent deposit and will undoubtedly tempt some people to switch, particularly with no application and legal fees, free valuation and £300 cash back. The other plus point with the Barclays tracker is that you can switch to one of the bank's fixed-rate products at a later date without penalty.

With the mortgage market subdued and unlikely to pick up in the short term, other lenders may have to trim rates to maintain business levels.

Andrew Hagger is a money analyst at Moneynet.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

    £25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Assistant - Financial Services Sector - London

    £20400 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and highly reputable organisat...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future