I’ve been in the post of CEO at RBS for about a year now. If there is something I’ve learnt from my years in banking, it’s that for customers, trust matters more than anything else. You don’t need me to tell you that distrust in UK banks, and in RBS in particular, is high. So ever since arriving here, I have been utterly determined to do something about this.
One small thing we can do at RBS and across the sector is to be more open and available to talk about the decisions we make on a daily basis. It's the reason I wanted to create this blog and I will be asking people from right across our bank to speak directly to you.
Every time I speak to customers, I am reminded that our relationship with each of them is defined by key moments. Are we looking out for them? Are we making life and business financial interactions harder for them or easier? Are we doing what we can to ease stress and worry for individuals and businesses?
I increasingly hear from customers about one big worry as they juggle already-tight household finances and business budgets. Reading the newspapers, seeing financial commentary online and conversation with friends have all made people aware that base interest rates are going to rise. The first rise may not happen in 2014, or even in the first half of 2015, but its potential impact is already making our customers anxious.
And the stats I’ve seen back up the anecdotes from my meetings with customers. The Money Advice Service recently found 56% of mortgage holders have no contingency plan in place for a rise in their mortgage repayments.
The base rate rise, whenever it comes, will be one of those key moments that really matter to customers. It will be a moment when trust can either be built or broken.
So in a speech I gave last week, I promised to do all that we can to explain to our customers well in advance how we intend to manage rate increases for both borrowers and the UK’s very patient savers.
In the meantime, we'll be doing some major research into the topic and I'll be listening intently to the conversations that our customers are having. So I want to hear from you – are you worried about a potential rate rise?
It’s important that we get this moment right - your views will help us to do just that.
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