Business

Banks 'rebuilding reputation' after crash

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UK banks are starting to rebuild their reputation following the financial crisis with a marked improvement in the last two years, a survey suggests.

The sector has been rated as "average", according to an online survey of 35,000 people by the Reputation Institute.

Its score places it higher than the utilities sector, but below that of technology companies.

The Nationwide Building Society tops the list, with taxpayer-owned RBS at the bottom.

Nationwide's mutual status and the quality of its products rated highly among respondents.

In general, banks have started to rebuild their reputations in the last two years, with perceptions of products and services improving most significantly recently.

This is despite widespread concern among debt charities over lending policies and overdraft charges among High Street banks.

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Image caption Chatbots are increasingly being used by banks

Virgin Money is second on the Reputation Institute's ranking, followed by Halifax, Lloyds Banking Group and Metro Bank.

Lloyds is one of the big risers, with Santander - which cut some interest rates on popular accounts - having fallen in the ranking compared with a year earlier.

Despite the position of some challenger banks high on the list, innovation is seen as one area where ratings have dropped in the last year.

A recent report from consultancy Accenture suggested that artificial intelligence would be the main way that banks interacted with their customers within the next three years.

The report examined the views of 600 bankers and other experts, with many saying that AI would help banks create a more human-like customer experience.

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