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Helping SME customers make informed decisions

In February CEO Ross McEwan announced a new strategy to make RBS a smaller, simpler and smarter UK focused bank that puts the needs of its customers at its core, and that by 2020 we aim to be the number one bank for customer service and the most trusted bank in the UK.

We have supported an independent survey to measure SME customer satisfaction, the findings of which are released today. This new study will help track our progress towards achieving our aim.

This survey, conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), gives SMEs greater visibility of the relative position of different banks, promoting more informed choices when selecting who to do business with.

The survey reveals the opinions of over 5,000 British SMEs on banking services in the UK. In total, 74 banks were ranked and three different business sizes were interviewed; sole traders, 1-9 employees and 10-249 employees, with turnover below £25million.

RBS/NatWest’s performance demonstrates that we are in line with the other major banks, but that we perform better in some customer segments than others and there is more we can do to improve our customer service. As part of our new strategy we have committed to a number of steps to improve our support for business customers, this includes proactively contacting over 250,000 SMEs on how much they could borrow, making all but the most complex lending decisions within five days, increasing gross lending to SMEs by at least 10% to over £9bn, speeding up account opening, and returning business managers to the high street.

Ian Cowie, Chairman of SME Banking commented: "RBS is already the UK's biggest backer of small businesses, but we are committed to also becoming the best for small firms to bank with. This survey shows us we have work to do to improve our service and re-earn the trust of our customers. By proactively contacting businesses with how much they can borrow, speeding up lending decisions and putting business bankers in the High Street to help small businesses to grow, we are confident that RBS and NatWest will climb up these rankings."”

RBS/NatWest is the first bank to commission a survey of this nature, as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure we can best support our customers.

This research will be expanded and repeated every six months and all findings will be communicated via the purpose built Business Banking Insight website: www.businessbankinginsight.co.uk.

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