Savers prefer to see a friendly face instead of a computer screen

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SAVERS want face-to-face contact in a branch and a ‘good honest interest rate’ which doesn’t include a bonus that will disappear, instead of internet banking.

Yorkshire Building Society found that while offering an interest rate which was roughly equivalent to their online accounts, more customers wanted to take up the offer of a traditional passbook account where they could visit branches and only be able to withdraw three times year.

“Our research shows that even when given options, 50% of our customers prefer to use branches,” said savings development manager Mike Helliwell. “They have a relationship with the branch.

“It is that kind of security of dealing with people face to face that people like, where they can ask questions. Also, at the end of the day some people just like to see a passbook with their money and transactions in.”

This was a view reflected by customer Kevin Hale (57) from Brighouse who, despite doing some of his banking online, took out the Triple Access Saver Account to save up for a new car.

He said that being able to pop into a branch was not only convenient to pay cash into, but was also a pleasurable experience because the staff in the branch knew who he was.

“It is good to have the choice,” he said. “I bank online as well and that is great to be able to access the account, but for this particular purpose, the passbook account was better.

“Being able to pop into a branch when we go shopping is conveninent for us.”

The account has just celebrated its first anniversary and has become the building society’s most popular savings account since it was launched in June 2011 with almost three times as many customers as other similar accounts.

More than half of the Yorkshire’s customers preferred to use a passbook to keep track of transactions on their account and almost 70 per cent of those surveyed favoured a branch-based account with a competitive variable rate.

“This time last year there was some scepticism in the media about whether - in the age of internet banking - savers really wanted a simple, traditional passbook account,” said Mr Helliwell.

“The fact that Triple Access Saver has been our most popular savings account since its launch speaks for itself – customers appreciate the straightforward terms, ease of use and an attractive, competitive rate without any introductory bonus for a limited period.”

Yorkshire Building Society has opened three new branches in the county in the last three weeks in Ilkley, Pudsey and the latest opening last week in Bingley.