James Daley

By James Daley

I'm sorry to be calling out Santander for the second day in a row, but as I saw their new ads come up on one of the screens at my gym last night, I felt an urgent need to set the record straight on a couple of points.

As Ana Botin (pictured), Santander UK's chief executive, knows all too well, her bank has been one of the poorer performers in terms of customer satisfaction and transparency over the past few years. As my blog yesterday pointed out, the £12.4m fine which it has landed for poor investment advice is simply the latest in a litany of bad news stories which have eminated from the bank over the past decade.

Each time I've met the executive team from Santander over the past 10 years, they have talked a good game. They have always sounded sincere about their desire to turn around their poor satisfaction ratings, and to deliver better customer outcomes. But sadly, change has been slow. And as you can see from our analysis, they continue to be ranked in the bottom tier for all the product sectors they operate in.

Simple. Personal. Fair.

The bank's latest move appears to be something of a change in tack. Instead of getting on and delivering excellent service to its customers, it has now decided to simply proclaim it's fairness in a new advertising campaign, which runs under the slogan - "Simple. Personal. Fair". Arguably, none of these three boasts are attributes that the bank is in a position to make. But fairness, something which we feel we know a thing or two about, is certainly not something that can be bought or spun. A reputation for trust and fairness can only be earned by living those attributes every day in your business.

It's certainly encouraging from my perspective to see the word "Fair" cropping up in a bank advertising campaign. It goes to show that banks know that fairness is a quality that an increasing number of customers demand from their bank.

When Santander can prove that it is a bank that treats its customers fairly, we will be happy to shout it from the rooftops. It's not close yet. And it's latest advertising campaign exposes its insincerity.