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Under starters' orders: ready for rapid account switching?

From September 2013, the starter’s pistol will fire and banks will be required to speed through customer bank account switching within seven days. This is in line with the Vickers report’s recommendations which stand to dramatically reform the banking industry.

So what are the implications of these new requirements? Banks must be thoroughly prepared to manage this step-change and make these account switches quickly and seamlessly. Some have already declared that speed will not be an issue, so these banks will be under particular pressure from consumers, regulators and the media to live up to their promises. New entrants to the banking space will also be in the spotlight as they look to leapfrog traditional players and attract new customers.

Banks must ensure they have the right technology and processes in place to action customers’ demands or risk dissatisfaction and non-compliance. For some, this will mean redesigning their current manual processes to cut down on lead time.

But all of this is missing the point. The main focus for banks must be to do everything in their power to retain their customers. Banks must ensure that frequent account switching does not become the new norm. From September consumers have an easier route to switch bank accounts and so the onus is on bank to prioritise retaining their customers through exemplary customer service and value for money. Otherwise, they risk being left on the sidelines.



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