Banks push graduate perks

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The Independent Online
LOANS at preferred rates, discounts on motor and travel insurance, and help from special advisers are among the perks on offer as the big high street banks try to hang on to student account holders who are graduating from college, writes Nic Cicutti.

A Barclays spokeswoman said: 'The reason for having graduate packages is the same for most banks.

'Students are an investment for the future. But there is no point in giving help and guidance for three years only to lose them to another bank because it has a better package.'

The latest bank to enter the market for graduates is Bank of Scotland, which has just launched a package including a free pounds 500 overdraft facility for a year and preferential rates on overdrafts above that amount.

Free banking within the pounds 500 overdraft limit is also available, as are pounds 20 vouchers for Bank of Scotland products, such as car insurance, plus pounds 250 towards a mortgage taken out within five years.

Iain Fiddes, head of the bank's marketing department, said: 'We have tailored it specifically to help students face the financial hurdles in making the transition from being penniless to becoming up-and- coming professionals.'

National Westminster has graduate advisers in a number of key branches. It also offers loans at 10.38 per cent APR for up to 12 months after graduation, with a repayment holiday of four months.

Lloyds graduates are offered an interview about personal finance. They also receive preferential overdraft rates at 18.8 per cent APR, with the first pounds 50 free of interest and charges.

Midland offers its students preferential overdrafts at 1 per cent over base rates, up to pounds 1,250. If it is not repaid by December, the amount outstanding converts to a personal loan, at 3 per cent over base.

Royal Bank of Scotland offers loans up to pounds 3,000 at 1 per cent over base rates, with a repayment period of four years. The loans are available within three months of starting work.

Barclays Bank offers preferential overdraft rates at 1 per cent over base rate for one year after graduation. It also has personal loans up to pounds 3,000 at 1 per cent of the gross credit balance per month.