Online banking condemned by small businesses

Lloyds TSB, BoS are especially pants

The small business online offerings of Britain’s leading banks are not good enough.

Despite spending millions of pounds trying to attract business customers and convince them to complete their transactions over the internet, the leading banks are failing to produce a satisfactory service.

In a poll of 500 small businesses, conducted by online finance intermediary Xbridge, 61 per cent of customers rated their bank’s business website as either poor or very poor.

Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB had customers most disgruntled, with almost three-quarters unable to obtain the services they required. HSBC faired only slightly better, failing to impress two thirds of its online customers.

According to the report, Abbey is the UK’s top provider of online business banking services, managing to satisfy over half of its customers, while Barclays also figured prominently among the nation's best.

The report highlighted that banks are producing expensive and complex websites with lots of guides and information, but not serving small business owners’ most simple requirements. It stated that the banks must leave help and advice to non-bank sources and concentrate on providing simple transaction and lending facilities.

Brad Liebmann, managing director of Xbridge, said: "The results show a remarkable lack to foresight by the majority of the UK’s largest lending institutions. Banks need to be more committed to delivering an effective customer experience online.

"Employing interactive technology capable of finding the appropriate financial solutions for individual small businesses would significantly increase the banks’ revenue derived online."

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