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Angry customers of the so called ‘big five’ High Street banks including Barclays and RBS/NatWest are voting with their feet – and their wallets – and inundating building societies, credit unions and ethical banking alternatives with current account applications.

This comes as calls for banking reform grow with greater competition seen as a way to make the sector more customer-focussed. Data compiled by the  campaign group Move Your Money UK shows an explosion of requests to switch from the big High Street banks to smaller alternatives – including the likes of Metro Bank and Co-operative Bank – they believe will take a more ethical approach that puts them first.

Charity Bank, which lends its savers’ money to charities has seen a 200% increase in depositors, while the Ecology Bank a 266% increase in application. Credit unions have seen a jump of between 20% and 300%. Evidence of the growing number of customers switching from the big five comes as calls for banking reform come alongside moves to make it easier for customers to make the switch.

Since the start of the year Move Your Money UK estimates that 80,000 savers a month have been leaving the crisis-ridden banking giants such as Barclays. The Co-operative Bank has seen a 25% rise in applications over the past week. It hopes to maximise this consumer mistrust of its competitors by trebling its number of branches to 1000 by clinching a deal to buy 632 branches from Lloyds Banking Group.

See the Editor’s Blog on this for more.

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