Have you seen the bargains in the sale at NatWest? Thought not.

Recently, high street financial institutions seem to have noticed that quite a few of their neighbours in the retail trade have sales at this time of year.  Several banks and building societies – with NatWest and HSBC probably the biggest players – are now having their own.

It’s interesting, though, how rubbish they are at it.  For one thing, the whole look and feel of financial institutions’ sales is tattier and grottier than any major retailer’s – right down there at the Mr Byrite/99p Store/Amy’s Hardware level.  And for another thing, the deals are so not exciting.  Slivers of cost shaved off bank account and insurance charges, fractions of APRs deducted from loan rates:  if that’s a SPECTACULAR UNREPEATABLE WINTER SALE SPECIAL then I’m Father Christmas.

Pretty much every financial institution on the high street has experienced a moment of revelation at some point in the last few years, realising in wide-eyed wonderment that when all’s said and done what they actually are is a kind of retailer.  Many have decided to start behaving more like retailers. A number have hired people with retailing backgrounds.  Most have started studying exactly what retailers get up to.

But in exactly the same way that an awful lot of retailers have found that it’s harder than it looks to make a good job of financial services, you have to say that just at the moment an awful lot of financial services providers are making it clear that it’s a lot harder than it looks to do retailing.

2 thoughts on “Have you seen the bargains in the sale at NatWest? Thought not.

  1. I think the sales for banks are a great idea and like the idea of the ‘green sale’ from HSBC. Although I can’t help thinking that the banks are still a million miles away from behaving like a retailer.

  2. It would be great if the banks actually communicated with customers in a more grown-up manner like mainstream retailers do. And if they are going to offer ‘sales’ they why not offer 50% off a product or buy one get one free. It seems to be that they are just testing the water with a very small toe at the moment!

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