Banks are ‘doing as little as they can get away with for savers’ | City & Business | Finance

Harriett Baldwin, who chairs the Treasury Committee, said Barclays, Lloyds, NatWest and HSBC have been too slow to pass on higher interest rates to depositors.

The Conservative MP said: “The big four banks have been far too slow to reward savers through better rates on instant access savings accounts.

“The Treasury Committee summoned them in February to suggest they offer better rates.

“They should have listened to our suggestion as there are signs that savvy consumers are switching for better rates elsewhere.

“The figures published in the past week still show signs that the banks are trying to do as little as they can get away with to reward our constituents for saving.

“We will continue to press for individual and business savers to be rewarded. Meanwhile, savers should shop around for the best rate.” The committee earlier this year pressed bank bosses to explain why some of their savings rates were still ­significantly lower than the Bank of England base rate.

Some have been rising since, with smaller specialist banks such
as Paragon matching the current 5.25% base rate on its easy-access savings account.

Earlier this month, NS&I – home of Premium Bonds – withdrew one-year bonds paying 6.2% interest from sale, after nearly a quarter of a million
savers snapped them up in just over five weeks.

Russ Mould, head of investment at financial firm AJ Bell, said: “The banks have to be careful because consumers are much more savvy than a few years ago and know now to look around for the best rates. There is also competition between the banks.”

HSBC announced yesterday it has more than doubled its quarterly profits, in spite of setting aside more than £800million for expected losses in China’s property market.

The group revealed its pre-tax profits rose by £3.7billion to £6.4billion in the three months to September, compared with the same period in 2022.

Barclays said the savings market had become “extremely competitive” and reported a 6% drop in deposits.

Lloyds saw £3.2billion taken out of current account deposits and £3.9billion put into savings over the quarter.

NatWest revealed that 15% of its customer deposits are now in fixed-term accounts paying higher ­interest.

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