Intro – Aldermore Bank Reviews
How safe is Aldermore Bank? Who owns this UK bank, and what are the pros and cons of banking with Aldermore Bank?
Founded in 2009, Aldermore Bank specializes in providing financial services to Britain’s savers, homeowners, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Since it is a relatively new bank, some consumers have wondered, “Is Aldermore Bank safe?” The answer is yes.
But just how safe is Aldermore Bank?
Well, one journalist who writes Aldermore Bank reviews on the online financial site This Is Money states that Aldermore might be the “safest bank in the UK.” This is because Aldermore’s owners put a substantial amount of cash into the bank upon start up.
Why Else Is Aldermore Bank Safe?
Image Source: BigStock
Here is some additional information in response to the question, “How safe is Aldermore Bank?”
• Aldermore reviews in financial news media note that Aldermore’s commercial lending is 100% financed from its savings business. That means the bank can avoid the risk and expense of borrowing from other banks.
• Aldermore was listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015. An Aldermore Bank review in the Telegraph pointed out that this was a significant accomplishment for a bank that was just four years old at the time it was listed.
• Aldermore Bank customer reviews note that the bank is regulated by the Financial Services Authority and covered up to £50,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The bank was recognized with a Moneyfacts Award in 2015.
Aldermore Bank Reviews Highlight Customer Orientation
Aldermore is considered a “challenger bank.” This term refers to a relatively small retail bank set up with the intention of competing for business with large, long-established national banks. Aldermore’s website describes the bank as “offering a genuine alternative to the incumbent banks” and states, “We are providing much needed diversification in the British banking landscape.”
Aldermore Bank reviews bear this out. An Aldermore review in the Guardian, dated 1 June 2011, describes Aldermore as “one of a number of new banks set up since the banking crisis, aiming to exploit public anger at the bigger players.”
Aldermore aims to provide special attention to customers. To that end, the bank’s website has a Help Centre full of information on banking and finance. It features FAQs, informational literature, and how-tos on investing, buying property, industry news, and other relevant topics to support consumer research and those seeking Aldermore reviews.
Who Owns Aldermore Bank?
Aldermore Bank reviews by financial journalists note that the bank was founded by former Barclay’s executive, Philip Monks, now Aldermore’s highly regarded CEO, in partnership with AnaCap Financial Corporation. AnaCap purchased a private bank called Ruffler and built Aldermore upon the Ruffler foundation.
The Ruffler Bank was set up in the 1960s by Roy Ruffler, who made his money importing coin-based gaming machines. News articles and Aldermore reviews say he started a bank so he could lend to other companies that wanted to do something similar. Aldermore’s origins still show in the bank's commercial lending book, a large amount of which is made up of gaming companies.
One Aldermore Bank review written by a full-time employee on the website Glassdoor gives CEO Monks a 100% approval rating.
Aldermore Bank Customer Reviews
Image Source: Aldemore Reviews
In February 2013, Aldermore became the first UK bank to allow Aldermore Bank customer reviews on its website. The ratings are completely unedited and appear just as customers write them. The illustration above is taken from the Aldermore website and is one of several recent Aldermore savings reviews. As of 10 March 2014, there were 2,145 reviews on the site, with a combined customer rating of 4.48 out of 5. Just 3% of all Aldermore customer reviews were complaints.
Aldermore customer reviews also appear on sites that are not affiliated with the bank. Shortly after the bank opened in 2009, a series of Aldermore Bank reviews appeared on a site called MoneySavingsExpert . Several people expressed frustration with the time lapse between applying for an individual savings account (ISA) and being able to deposit initial funds. However, several other customers responded to those complaints saying that they had experienced no problems at all.
Aldermore Bank’s Services
Aldermore Reviews — Business Savings Accounts
Aldermore Bank offers two types of savings accounts for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Business Savings Accounts are for deposits up to £1 million, and Corporate Savings Accounts are for deposits in excess of £1 million. Both types of accounts have received good Aldermore reviews.
For Business Savings, the bank offers four different account varieties. Three have fixed rates of interest and one, called an Easy Access savings account, has a variable interest rate. Corporate savings accounts provide a range of deposit-taking services to UK businesses, institutions, and public sector entities.
Aldermore Bank customer reviews on business savings accounts are very good overall.
• On 10 May 2016, an Aldermore review written by a self-employed female between the ages of 25 and 44 wrote, “I was looking for an online business account and the Aldermore account had a good interest rate. It was easy to open and transfer the initial funds.”
• On that same day, a self-employed man between the ages of 65 and 74 wrote in his Aldermore review: “It's not easy to find a small business savings account that is simple to operate and pays reasonable interest. Many of the major banks have ridiculously complicated and onerous procedures while few pay anything other than derisory interest. It was a pleasure to be able to open this account quickly, and without fuss to enable a fair return on reserve funds.”
Image Source: BigStock
Aldermore Mortgages Reviews — Commercial and Buy to Let Mortgages
Aldermore offers two types of mortgages for SMEs and businesspeople: commercial and buy to let. Commercial mortgages are for those seeking space to house a business or for investment. Buy to let mortgages are for landlords and property investors. Customers who wrote Aldermore mortgages reviews had very positive things to say. Below are some examples from an independent reviewing website, Fair Mortgages.
Image Source: Fair Mortgages
Aldermore Reviews — Insurance
Aldermore has partnered with Simply Business to provide quality, tailored coverage for businesses and landlords. Simply Business is the UK’s largest online business insurance broker, with more than 250,000 customers. The Insurance Journal published an informative Aldermore review about Simply Business when it was acquired by Aquiline Capital Partners in April 2016. Simply Business customer reviews compiled on Feefo, a global ratings provider, give the company an overall rating of 92%.
Aldermore Mortgages Reviews — Residential
Image Source: Aldemore Bank
As of 30 June 2015, Aldermore had over £5.4 billion in total net lending, of which £2.9 billion was for home mortgages. The bank offers mortgages for first-time buyers with up to 100% loan to value, which means you don’t need a deposit. It also provides remortgaging services for customers who may gain advantages from refinancing a current holding. There are several Aldermore mortgages reviews on the bank’s website.
Three loan varieties are available: fixed rate, where the interest is stable for the life of the loan; discounted rate, which provides a lower rate for a specified introductory period; and variable rate, where the interest charged is tied to the prevailing cost in the external market.
Aldermore customer reviews are mixed on the topic of the bank’s residential mortgage services. A 1-star review from March of 2016 states, “Nearly 3 months on and there is no sign of [the mortgage process] ever being completed. I am living out of my car. The whole experience has been horrifically expensive. If I could go back in time and choose an alternative I would.” This Aldermore review assigned a rating of just 1 star out of a possible 5.
Several other Aldermore mortgages reviews on a different independent site, Review Centre, also gave the bank only 1 star. One carried the negative headline, “Loan sharks masquerading as a reputable bank” and read, “Aldermore has every trick in the book to ultimately cost you money, they mess around at every phase of a mortgage process wanting this and that and then more. Totally unprofessional in every aspect.”
However, other Aldermore customer reviews viewed the bank’s residential mortgage services positively. In December 2015, one Aldermore review gave the bank 4 stars, writing, “I am very happy with the service I have received. The staff members were always very helpful when I called and I am happy with the mortgage that I have taken out. There was very good continuity and communications during the application process.”
Aldermore Savings Reviews — Personal Savings Accounts
Image Source: Aldemore Personal Savings
Aldermore offers six different personal savings accounts. Three are individual savings accounts (ISAs), where the interest you earn is tax-free.
The interest on the other three account types is taxed, although each has attractive features that the ISA accounts lack. Aldermore savings reviews tend to focus on three types of accounts:
- The fixed rate account guarantees a particular interest rate for the life of the account, but withdrawals are not allowed until a set time period has expired.
- An easy access account is more flexible. It pays a competitive interest rate and allows withdrawals at any time.
- A notice account allows you to make as many withdrawals as you like, although you must give the bank notice prior to doing so. The notice period is set when you open the account.
On 8 October 2014, a male customer wrote this Aldermore review for a notice account, giving it 3 out of 5 possible stars. It appeared on SmartMoneyPeople, an independent ratings website. “I opened an online account with them as they were offering a good rate on a 30 day notice account” he wrote. “But then it dropped, I know most accounts have dropped, and it's getting harder to find somewhere to earn any decent savings rate!”
A recent Aldermore review written on 9 May 2016 can be found on another independent review site, Review Centre. This reviewer gave the bank 4 stars for customer service and 3 stars for ease of use. He wrote, “I've been with them for 3 years. I've never had a problem speaking to a human when I needed to. The log in process is a bit too detailed/difficult to remember, but they do pay good rates of interest. If the log in on the website wasn't so convoluted – user ID + password + random question – I'd probably give them 5 stars.”
While it is true that log in procedures can be tedious, they are necessary on a financial website like Aldermore’s. When people ask, “How safe is Aldermore Bank?” it is exactly this type of online security that they are anxious about.
There are 56 more Aldermore Bank reviews on the Review Centre website. The average rating of Aldermore from all of those reviews is 2.1 stars out of a possible 5. The Ease of Use category averages 2.1 stars, as does the Customer Services category. Of all 57 users who wrote an Aldermore review, 30 percent said they would recommend the bank to others.
The two most frequent complaints were (1) the bank was extremely difficult to reach by phone, and (2) the process of opening an account was fraught with unexplained delays.
One Aldermore review gave the bank just one star, summing up the problems this way: “Very poor service, unable to get through on the phone, awful. Took 5 days to get through on the phone, no reply to email and mailed forms took ages to arrive. Gave up in the end and went elsewhere to open an ISA, done on same day. Would not recommend Aldermore to anyone and will avoid them in the future.”
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Aldermore Reviews — Research and Services to Help Consumers
One 22 March 2016, Aldermore released research showing that many savings customers were confused by bank jargon. This makes it difficult for consumers to assess Aldermore reviews and articles. In response to this issue, the bank developed a Savings Glossary to help.
In addition to the glossary, Aldermore Bank customer reviews have cited various educational articles in the bank’s Resource Centre as particularly helpful. These include “How to Spring Clean Your Finances to be Better Off for Life” and “When Does a Small Business Need to Start Paying Tax?”
Aldermore Bank Reviews — the Bottom Line
To date, Aldermore customers have deposited over £5.7 billion with the bank, and this makes it possible for Aldermore to have lent over £6 billion to British homeowners and businesses.
Overall, Aldermore reviews from both business customers and those using the bank for residential mortgages and personal finances are positive. Several independent review sites feature Aldermore Bank customer reviews that rate the bank as above average. While there are some negative Aldermore Bank reviews, there are also many customers that said they are pleased with the bank and its services.
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