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

The hidden cost of employee share schemes
Investment strategy

The hidden cost of employee share schemes

Paying employees in shares comes at a cost to investors – but it isn’t always easy to see how much, says Stephen Clapham.
26 Sep 2022
Sterling crashes to its lowest since 1985 after mini-Budget
Currencies

Sterling crashes to its lowest since 1985 after mini-Budget

The pound has fallen hard and is heading towards parity with the US dollar. Saloni Sardana explains why, and what it means for the UK, for markets and…
23 Sep 2022
Earn 3.7% from the best savings accounts
Savings

Earn 3.7% from the best savings accounts

With inflation topping 10%, your savings won't keep pace with the rising cost of living. But you can at least slow the rate at which your money is los…
23 Sep 2022
Three top-notch Asian stocks to buy
Share tips

Three top-notch Asian stocks to buy

Professional investors Adrian Lim and Pruksa Iamthongthong, managers of the Asia Dragon Trust, pick three of their favourite Asian stocks to buy now.
23 Sep 2022

Most Popular

Could gold be the basis for a new global currency?
Gold

Could gold be the basis for a new global currency?

Gold has always been the most reliable form of money. Now collaboration between China and Russia could lead to a new gold-backed means of exchange – g…
22 Sep 2022
Paypal, bitcoin, and the weaponisation of money
Bitcoin & crypto

Paypal, bitcoin, and the weaponisation of money

Recent events have shown how both business and governments can “weaponise” money and shut down dissent. What to do? Buy bitcoin, says Dominic Frisby.
22 Sep 2022
Why you should short this satellite broadband company
Trading

Why you should short this satellite broadband company

With an ill-considered business plan, satellite broadband company AST SpaceMobile is doomed to failure, says Matthew Partridge. Here's how to short th…
23 Sep 2022