by Mark Johnston
Leading telephone bank First Direct has been voted the best brand for customer service in the United Kingdom. The HSBC owned online bank beat competition from the likes of John Lewis and Waitrose who are renowned for their exceptional customer service.
First Directs competitor, the Spanish bank Santander came bottom of the table and was branded as ‘best avoided’ together with AOL broadband and the telephone and internet provider TalkTalk.
The vote was taken by 10,600 Which? customers by scoring each company on an overall satisfaction score. First Direct came top with a score of 89% which was very closely followed by John Lewis at 86% and then their food brand Waitrose at 85%.
At the same time the level of service given to First Direct’s mortgage customers has also been highlighted by a spokesperson for the telephone bank. Richard Tolchard, senior product manager at the bank described the service enjoyed by the banks mortgage customers as “legendary”. He made the comments whilst pointing out some of the great offers that the firm has with fees start at just £99.
Mr Tolchard pointed out one of their current deals by saying: “With first direct’s 2.19 per cent two year tracker, homeowners can be enjoying lower monthly mortgage payments by the time their festive bills need paying,”
Last month First Direct launched a tracker mortgage that tracks the base rate at just less than 2 percent. Richard Tolchard, Senior product manager pointed out that savvy borrowers could save money by switching to a First Direct mortgage. He pointed out that the Council of Mortgages Lenders (CML) had recently released a report that showed that offset mortgages had risen and now accounted for 11 percent of all new mortgage approvals.
Mr Tolchard said: “We’ve always known how great the offset mortgage product is, so it’s pleasing to see that the public are starting to realise it too,”.
First Direct offer an offset mortgage that provides a 4.4% interest rate on savings whilst providing a great rate of interest on a home loan.
First Direct’s sister company, HSBC is currently offering a tracker mortgage as 1.69% over the Bank of England base rate of 0.5% giving a great overall rate of 2.19%. HSBC is only charging a very reasonable £99 application fee although the down side is that borrowers require massive sixty percent equity as the loan to value to a mighty 40%.
Barclays ‘Great Escape’ lifetime tracker offer works out at 2.58% which tracks 2.08% above base rate. The best part is that Barclays aren’t charging any fees so valuation, arrangement and legal fees are all free.
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