The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has released its biannual report on the best and worst financial institutions for small businesses, naming Handelsbanken in the U.K. as the best-rated High Street bank for SMBs.
Reports in the BBC on Wednesday (Aug. 15) said that 90 percent of small business customers of Handelsbanken said they would recommend the bank due to its quality relationship management. The bank beat out Metro and Lloyds, which were tied for second place with 64 percent of small businesses willing to recommend the bank.
Handelsbanken also scored high on small businesses' satisfaction with overdrafts and loan services, followed by Santander and Lloyds.
Overall quality of small business services also saw Handelsbanken top the list, while Metro and Santander came in second and third place, according to reports. Barclays secured the top spot for quality of online and mobile small business banking services.
Royal Bank of Scotland, meanwhile, landed at the bottom of the pack in both personal and business banking. Only 47 percent of small business RBS customers said they would recommend the bank based on overall experience and service.
"We are aware we have more work to do in order to improve our service standards and deliver a better experience for our customers," a spokesperson for RBS said.
BDRC surveyed 1,200 small business customers of High Street banks for the CMA, which releases the report twice a year. According to reports, the survey is part of the government's initiative to boost competition in the financial services space and to encourage small businesses to switch bank providers.
Beginning next year, the CMA will work with the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to require banks to release information about services and helplines, and to disclose security and operational incidents.
"For the first time, people will now be able to easily compare banks on the quality of the service they provide, and to judge if they're getting the most for their money or could do better elsewhere," said CMA Senior Director Adam Land in a statement. "This is one of the many measures – including open banking and overdraft text alerts – that we put in place to make banks work harder for their customers and help people shop around to find the best deals for them."
In another statement, FCA Executive Director of Strategy and Competition Christopher Woolard said that small business financial services are about more than which provider offers the best price.
"It's also important for customers – including individuals and small businesses – to be able to judge the quality of service around their current account and to see whether other providers could offer something that suits them better," he said.