This year’s endless fiasco at NS&I

National Savings & Investments (NS&I), has lurched from one disaster to another this year. Ruth Jackson-Kirby looks at what's gone wrong.

National Savings & Investments, or NS&I, is losing its reputation as the nation’s favourite savings institution. “I’ve long been a champion of NS&I... and I know many readers feel the same way,” says James Coney, Money editor of The Sunday Times. “Or at least, they did.”

So what’s gone wrong? It started in spring when Treasury-backed NS&I was given extra funding so it could offer better rates. “Customers flocked to it, but like many financial institutions it faced the challenge of keeping service levels up when lockdown came,” says Coney. “Phone waiting times rose from ten seconds to 12 minutes.” 

After that there were changes to Premium Bonds that meant winners couldn’t be paid by cheque anymore. So millions of customers needed to sign up online, but long waiting times on the phone meant many struggled to get help registering for internet log-in details.

“The decision to stop sending Premium Bond prizes out by post was made to save paper,” says Fiona Parker in the Daily Mail. “However, the bank’s Direct Isa customers are now discovering they cannot move their money online – ironically forcing them to fill in a form and put it in the post in a process that can take weeks.”

The final insult came last month when NS&I slashed interest rates, in some cases from 1.15% down to just 0.01%, and lengthened the odds of winning on the Premium Bonds. 

As a result, millions of customers are trying to take their money elsewhere. “But those trying to move their money are having to wait weeks as they struggle to navigate the... new website or to speak to anyone about it on the telephone,” says Parker.

“Enough is enough,” says Coney. “It is time for the Treasury select committee to haul in NS&I‘s boss Ian Ackerley to investigate this fiasco…this is one of Britain’s... most loved financial institutions being badly run, lumbering from one disaster” to the next.

Recommended

Imperial Brands has an 8.3% yield – but what’s the catch?
Share tips

Imperial Brands has an 8.3% yield – but what’s the catch?

Tobacco company Imperial Brands boasts an impressive dividend yield, and the shares look cheap. But investors should beware, says Rupert Hargreaves. H…
20 May 2022
What's behind Sri Lanka’s crippling debt crisis?
Emerging markets

What's behind Sri Lanka’s crippling debt crisis?

Sri Lanka has been hit by a triple whammy of economic shocks and has gone to the IMF for a bailout. It may just be the first domino to fall in a globa…
20 May 2022
Investing in drugmakers: uncommon profits from curing rare diseases
Share tips

Investing in drugmakers: uncommon profits from curing rare diseases

Treatments for medical conditions with only a small number of sufferers can still be very attractive for pharmaceutical companies and investors becaus…
20 May 2022
Share tips of the week – 20 May
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 20 May

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
20 May 2022

Most Popular

The ten highest dividend yields in the FTSE 100
Income investing

The ten highest dividend yields in the FTSE 100

Rupert Hargreaves looks at the FTSE 100’s top yielding stocks for income investors to consider.
18 May 2022
Aviva: a share for income investors to tuck away
Share tips

Aviva: a share for income investors to tuck away

Insurance giant Aviva is one of the highest yielding stocks in the FTSE 100 – and it’s cheap, too, making it a tempting target for income investors. R…
18 May 2022
Despite the crypto crash, bitcoin still has a bright future
Bitcoin & crypto

Despite the crypto crash, bitcoin still has a bright future

Cryptocurrencies have crashed hard, with bitcoin down by more than 50% from its peak. But, says Dominic Frisby, bitcoin still has a future – it is the…
19 May 2022