First Direct - feedback and general chat

We don’t seem to have a place to talk generally about First Direct. So here it is.

And there’s news! The tl;dr of the Financial Times article below seems to be that HSBC is trying to turn FD into a Monzo/Starling:

https://www.ft.com/content/acd5201a-edab-11e9-ad1e-4367d8281195

Is it April 1st?

I can’t see the stuffy customers of First Direct enjoying their bank become more like Monzo or Revolut.

Surprisingly, their CEO is a similar age to Tom Blomfield

I can imagine FD will be the first to go at this rate. Gobbled back up into HSBC.

Can’t wait for fd to make a decent start on this - choice and competition are always good and they are taking the time to do things right which is always a plus…

What do you mean, First Direct is already wholly owned by HSBC?

This is just HSBC’s route ‘in’; its Pingit and Bó.

(Just wait for the revival of Cahoot, and a Frankenstein if.com)

They’re using an online and phone only bank already which was fairly different at the time and have won awards consistently for their ability to provide good service. Their app and web banking have always been fairly good.

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I couldn’t disagree more. What’s the opposite of innovative? First Direct was groundbreaking in 1989 and seemingly stopped there – the internet banking didn’t change for the best part of two decades after the dot com bubble. Even the parent bank’s app got Open Banking first, despite the much–trumpeted (still) collaboration with Bud. This is a bank which only last month scrapped its penalty fee of a TENNER if you didn’t use the account enough.

And now it views copying as ‘innovation’.

I reckon I must have been an early adopter for FD and will readily admit that apart from some updates to the app and the log-in process they do seem to have lost some traction. 1.45 million customers against Monzo’s 3 million [I think] says it all.

If they can breathe some oxygen into the product I would probably welcome it and stay with them.

R-

P.s I don’t think I’m very stuffy.

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I somehow have the feeling though that despite them having half the customers, a significantly higher proportion of those people at FD will be using it as their sole/main account.

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I’m sure you’re not stuffy. I am also a customer, having just repaid a personal loan from FD last month. I was basing that on the MSE forum which is inhabited by bores who seem to think being able to phone a bank is the height of sophistication and modernity.

It’s a good job you don’t agree with that.

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Oh yeah, FD’s customer service is good. Its products are ba. sic.

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Interesting read.

My ‘other’ bank (Bank of Scotland) shares an app platform with Halifax and Lloyds TSB (obv) and it’s noticeable that they are adding things like notifications and ‘payments soon’ views. It’s not like they have to look far for this ‘inspiration’.

FD on the other hand are already a ‘non-branch’ bank so would be a good proving ground to get a more Monzo like app going before their ‘lords and masters’ sook it all up into their other apps?

Once the other banks get on board with instant payment notifications, faster apps and better budgeting - what will be the appeal of Monzo?

It’s not like Monzo does everything better than a traditional bank, in fact there are a number of aspects that are considerably worse.

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They’ve got a lot of catching up to do. The FD app still doesn’t even support fingerprint login on my device.

Once the other banks get on board with instant payment notifications, faster apps and better budgeting - what will be the appeal of Monzo?

It’s not like Monzo does everything better than a traditional bank, in fact there are a number of aspects that are considerably worse.

I often think this to be honest, in my opinon it’s just a matter of time. Monzo’s key would be iterating faster with features than a legacy bank may do, but this will ultimatley be it’s only key benefit.

FWIW - I was with First direct before I went fullmonzo, and shall return if/when instant payment notifications and savings pots appear.

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What is it that FD offer that makes you want to return? I’m curious.

I think they are past that point. Look at recent fintech community meetings and the ‘big banks’ are more and more involved. I know one bank that has a pretty good app (it has something like Pots in it already) who is active in this space and has plenty of resource to throw at this. And when I say resource, I mean money, which is where Monzo will quickly lose, hence why they are starting to scrabble for money (Plus anyone?).

They’ve built good core features, but the big banks will soon have all these things too and then they will accelerate past Monzo simply because they can.

Don’t get me wrong, I hope this IS NOT the way it plays out but this is one reason I’m not fullmonzo yet too. Not counting my chickens.

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When it gets to that point, the ones lagging behind may just look to absorb the smaller players because it’s easier to do so.

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