The report shows that in the first six months of the year the Bank has met 18 of the 25 goals set for 2011, including providing emergency cash for lost or stolen debit cards, text alerts to help people avoid current account charges and continuing to extend opening hours in our busiest branches.
Highlights from the first six months include:
- Reducing the average queuing time in our 300 busiest branches to 3.5 minutes with 79.6% of customers waiting less than 5 minutes
- Delivering emergency cash to nearly 15,000 customers who lost their card, through our network of ATMs. This is a 24/7 call centre service which issues a PIN number to withdraw emergency funds from our cash machines
- 714,810 customers signed up for text alerts helping them to manage their money and balances, with 909,251 alerts sent in the first half of this year
- Providing 782,870 downloads of market-leading security software so far this year, with 100% security record for online banking among these customers
- NatWest and RBS launched the Charter in June last year following extensive feedback from customers on the services they expect from their bank. The goals continue to be set in response to customer feedback and independently assured by Deloitte LLP
Brian Hartzer, Chief Executive of RBS and NatWest Retail Banking said:
"The results of this report show we're making good progress on the areas that matter to our customers. In the last year we introduced more practical ways to help our customers, including emergency cash for lost cards and text alerts to help people avoid charges.
"There are still many areas where we need to do better, for example on reducing queue times in our busiest branches, or meeting our initial target of 75% of customers being satisfied with the way we've handled their complaint. I hope our willingness to be open about where we need to do more will give customers confidence that we're serious about becoming Britain's most Helpful Bank."
The specific goals under the 14 commitments will continue to be updated to ensure they remain relevant for customers and stretching for us. A full summary of results follows as well as the Independent Assurance Statement by Deloitte LLP. Deloitte worked with more than forty members of staff across 25 departments over five months reviewing our systems and processes. This review enabled them to assure each objective and confirm whether they had been achieved.
Full details of the Customer Charter are available at RBS - our Customer Charter and The NatWest Customer Charter.
In November 2010, we served 75% of customers within five minutes in our 300 busiest branches. So this year we stretched ourselves to achieve 80% within five minutes. When we measured times earlier this year, the figure had improved to 79.6%. This is great progress, but it falls just short of our new target. However, it's great to see that on average, customers across our busiest branches are waiting only three and a half minutes – down from four minutes last year.
If you lose your debit card and find yourself short of money, we can provide you with emergency cash. You simply phone the bank and get a six-digit code which you can use to access money from any RBS, NatWest or Ulster cash machine. This unique, free service has helped nearly 14,500 customers since January.
We're also sending text alerts to help customers avoid charges by giving them a chance to reschedule payments, transfer money from elsewhere or ask us for help and advice. By the end of June, we had sent over 900,000 alerts to customers taking advantage of this service.
We've continued to support first-time buyers through the financial crisis by offering mortgages of up to 90% for those stepping onto the property ladder for the first time. We've also extended our mortgage offers so they remain open for six months rather than the standard three, which is especially helpful if there are holdups in the house-hunting process.
We have set ourselves an initial goal for 75% of our customers to be happy with the way we've handled their complaint. Only 59% are. This figure is improving, but not quickly enough and we've clearly got more work to do. So we're devoting time and effort to get it right. We are piloting a new complaints process with some promising early results and 8,000 of our people are receiving additional training this year.
Supporting our communities
We've exceeded our goal of bringing banking services to smaller communities and we are now serving 400 communities with our mobile vans. That's a hundred more than our target. We remained open in 148 towns, but had to close in one because our landlord wouldn't allow us to renew our lease (we have however made other arrangements for our customers in this town).
We've also launched our CommunityForce initiative and through this we will donate time, money and expertise to help local charities and projects nominated by our customers. Once the votes are counted, three winners in each of the 158 local areas will receive £6,000 for local good causes.