Today in our “Tick and Flick” banking reform series, we’re thrilled to have a guest blog by John Arnott, Director of Products at ING DIRECT, who asks us to question, is bigger always better? Here’s his case for switching from a big bank.
Is Bigger Always Better? – Guest blog by John Arnott
Like so many things, many people fall into a complacent relationship with a major bank simply because they’ve been with them since day one and it’s too hard to switch – a sentiment shared by 30% of people who think it’s “too much effort” to change banks (Australian Savings and Deposits Council, March 2011).
But, positively, consumer appetite for switching is on the rise, with an increase in the number of people changing banks over the past 3 years (up from 15.7% to 17.3%).
This will no doubt be pushed up by the introduction of the Government’s ‘Tick and Flick’ scheme, which is a good start at streamlining the switching process by authorising your new financial institution to play a bigger role in helping you move your regular credits and direct debit payments.
The switching process comes down to looking for a better deal or a service that is better suited to your lifestyle and how you prefer to interact with a bank. As we’ve seen in recent years, competition in the home loan market has encouraged many Australians to refinance their home loan and that has helped others see that although it will involve some paperwork and follow up, the pain is far outweighed by the gain – of lower fees, a better product or service.
But why switch to a non major? Smaller banks, like ING DIRECT – which is the country’s fifth largest home lender – are continuously challenging the majors with simple products, competitive rates, and in our case a simple, direct banking offering. By not having branches we can offer a service that is simple and fair, and provide good value products that give you great features without the everyday fees that many customers continue to pay.
So take the time to ask yourself, which bank – big or small – is offering the best deal for you. Don’t be scared to switch, although it seems daunting, the money saved on fees, and the time saved on branch queues is more than worth the effort.