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Revealed: The UK's best banks

23rd May 17 11:05 am

New ranking shows best banks

Nationwide, Virgin Money and Halifax top the UK’s ranking of the most reputable retail banks among the UK general public, Reputation Institute announced today, based on more than 35,000 ratings collected in the first quarter of 2017 from members of the UK general public.

The RepTrak system measures a company’s ability to deliver on stakeholder expectations on the seven key rational dimensions of reputation: products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership and performance. 

Companies are ranked on a score from 0-100 based on their overall reputation, and are grouped as Excellent (80+), Strong (70-79), Average (60-69), Weak (40-59) or Poor (Below 40).


The retail banking sector has been one of the most challenged in terms of reputation since the 2008 financial crash, with stories of greedy bankers and dishonest activity dominating the media for much of the last nine years. 

Reputation Institute data provides evidence that the industry has struggled to rebuild its reputation amongst the UK general public, with a weak reputation score of 59.6 out of 100 in 2014 and an even worse score of 57.7 in 2015. However, there has been a significant improvement in the last two years, with retail banks attaining a combined score of 64.5 in 2017, placing them firmly within the ‘average’ category, below the technology sector but above utilities. 

Since 2016 perceptions of the banking sector have improved almost universally across the dimensions of reputation. Perceptions of products and services have improved most significantly, from 65.3 in 2016 to 69.4 in 2017, and perceptions of banks’ governance, citizenship and workplace have also seen improvement.

The one dimension that has fallen is innovation – decreasing from 60.2 to 60.9.


The top of the ranking has remained the same for the last four years; with Nationwide Building Society leveraging its mutual status retain the top spot. Challenger banks Virgin Money and Metro Bank debuted highly last year and have maintained positions close to the top.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), arguably the biggest casualty of the financial crash has struggled to gain higher than a ‘poor’ score over the past four years, but has managed to edge into the ‘weak’ category with a score of 51.7 this year.

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