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Stop the great HSBC graduate rip-off!

University graduates are furious at a decision by HSBC to charge interest on previously free overdrafts. UK broadsheet The Guardian reports on how thousands are now turning to Facebook in a 'viral campaign' against the bank

The rapidly proliferating campaign, called 'Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off!'  has already brought in thousands of recent graduates. The campaign follows the bank’s decision in July to scrap interest-free overdrafts for university leavers and to charge interest at 9.9%. 

The cyber-rebellion, inspired by the National Union of Students (NUS), has attracted hundreds of angry postings and cast a shadow over HSBC’s attempts to lure freshers into taking up accounts when the new University term starts up in September.

Powerless to respond directly, HSBC has offered to meet representatives from the NUS at the end of September.

The case highlights the importance to banks of developing clear strategies for engaging with their customers over important emerging social networks and the reputational risks that lie in wait for those that fail to do so. It also demonstrates the ease with which disgruntled customers and switched-on consumer groups can use online community networks to air their grievances and rapidly escalate campaigns.

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Paul Penrose

Paul Penrose

Head of Research

Finextra

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06 Oct 2006

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London

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