The Move Your Money Switching Scorecard compares just over 70 UK and global banking providers on five key categories – honesty, customer service, culture, supporting the economy and ethics. Each category is worth a fifth of the provider’s overall score, and is compiled using a number of indicators. These indicators have been designed to be proportionate, robust and comparable, and we have taken steps to avoid any undue bias in our comparisons.
In the honesty category, we used indicators for fines, use of tax havens, political lobbying and misleading advertising. In customer service, we looked at complaints, mis-selling PPI, referrals to the Financial Ombudsman and customer satisfaction. Culture looks at customer power, directors’ pay and bonuses, and the proportion of women on the board. Finally, we looked at whether the banks are too big to fail, work in risky ways, fail to support the real economy and have poor ethics.
The evidence base that supports the Move Your Money Switching Scorecard was compiled in July 2013 by Ethical Consumer, the UKs leading alternative consumer organisation. You can find the full scorecard and information on how we got the scores here.
One of the big 5 banks in the UK, and second largest bank in the world, HSBC also holds the current record for the largest ever fine levied against a single bank.
In December 2012 HSBC was fined $1.9 billion for knowingly laundering money for drug cartels and terrorist groups, as well as contravening economic sanctions with rogue states. Aside from this staggering fine, in 2012 HSBC also set aside more than $1.6 billion for legal and regulatory proceedings, and almost $2.4 billion to compensate its customers for mis-sold products and other bad behaviour. With PPI payouts continuing and the bank still fighting numerous lawsuits, these mind-boggling figures are only likely to grow.
The bank scores absolutely no points for honesty, as well as scoring zero on customer complaints and mis-selling PPI. Yet despite huge punishments for catastrophic failures, HSBC continues to pay seven-figure directors salaries and huge bonuses, which also harmed its score on the Move Your Money Switching Scorecard.
HSBC is also one of the world’s biggest investors in illegal deforestation and tar sands extraction. Coupled with heavy investment in a number of repressive regimes and big arms companies, HSBC’s ethics are seriously questionable.
With poor scores across the board, HSBC gets an 12% Switch Score.