Danske in 'cash giveaway' to stymie customer churn

Tony Wilcox (Danske Bank) announces the bank’s new cash reward account alongside John French from the Consumer Council
Gary McDonald Business Editor

DANSKE Bank plans to give its customers £60 in free cash - just to stop them defecting to other banks.

Since the Current Account Switch Service was introduced two years ago to make it seamless for personal account holders to move banks, Danske - like others in the Northern Ireland 'big four' - has seen a mini-haemorrhage of customers.

Indeed in the last nine months alone Dankse has seen 1,736 personal customers leave and move to the likes of Santander, Halifax or Nationwide.

That compares to 4,394 net losses for Ulster Bank, 2,196 at First Trust and 1,509 at Bank of Ireland.

That's nearly 10,000 combined for the traditional local quartet, while in the same period their main British-based rivals have added more than 280,000 customers (Santander 181,350, Halifax 78,013 and Nationwide 21,560).

But in a new campaign being unveiled this morning, Danske Bank says it is introducing a "game-changing" reward-based personal current account, available within weeks.

Although the account will have an annual fee of £24, customers will in turn have their accounts credited with a no-strings-attached £7 a month (that's £84 over the year) as well as benefiting from a fee-free overdraft facility.

Danske is the first of the four main local Northern Ireland banks to launch such an account to the marketplace.

Its personal banking director Tony Wilcox said: “We have a strong focus on improving customer experience, and this new account will provide customers with the additional choice and value that many of them have told us they would like to see.

"It will add to an already attractive overall customer offering that includes a range of competitive products, a large local branch presence, flexible opening hours, a strong focus on service and market leading digital platforms.”

The move has been welcomed by the Northern Ireland Consumer Council.

Its chief executive John French said: “We continue to encourage all consumers in Northern Ireland to shop around for a bank account that is right for their needs and provides them with the best overall deal, and Danske’s new reward current account provides consumers with additional choice."

To be eligible to opt in to the Danske reward, customers must log on to eBanking, have three direct debits from the account and lodge a minimum of £1,200 each month.

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