Smile (bank)

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The Co-operative Bank plc
trading as Smile
Trading name
Industry Banking
Founded 1999 (1999)
Headquarters 1 Balloon Street
Manchester
M60 4EP
, United Kingdom
Key people
Niall Booker,  Chief Executive, The Co-operative Bank
Products Retail banking
Website www.smile.co.uk

Smile, or smile.co.uk, is a British internet bank, and a trading name of The Co-operative Bank. It started as the UK’s first fully digital bank in 1999,[1] offering full-service current accounts, savings, ISAs, investments and credit cards.

Other banks, like Egg and First-e, had offered digital services previously, but smile was the first to offer a full service where customers would not have to visit any high-street branches to do their banking. In fact, they were the first UK online bank to be accredited with the ISO 27001 information security certification.

History[edit]

smile launched in October 1999. From the very beginning, they offered competitive rates and a fully digital service when competitors were just introducing online banking to their high-street customers. Dave Smith, spokesman for smile, said in 2000 that smile was for ‘people who were comfortable enough with the net to put their bank account on it’.

In July 2000, moneybags.co.uk rated smile highly in terms of accessibility, citing its ‘excellent interest rates, top functionality, nice appearance and lots of clear, helpful information in plain English’. Also voted by Internet Made Easy magazine as ‘simply the best of the web’, these two comments were just the first in a long line of positive notes from some of the finance industry’s biggest names.

2001 saw smile launch ‘smile invest’, a collaboration with Fidelity Fundsupermarket[2] which gave smile customers even more opportunity to expand their financial portfolios, and compare more shares and stocks than ever before. From 2002, smile also launched Sharedealing[3] to help experienced and new investors build an online portfolio, with 24-hour access.

2003 proved to be an excellent year for both The Co-operative Bank and smile, as there were record interim pre-tax profits[4] for the tenth consecutive year. The first half of 2003 even improved on the previous year, up 10% on 2002. To Co-operative and smile customers, as well as the rest of the banking world, this showed that banks who valued ethics and great service could still turn a tidy profit - money which would go back into the communities they served.

As part of this community outreach, smile sponsored the Cape2cape[5] challenge in 2004, with a team flying from the tip of Chile to the coast of Canada in a single plane. This was followed by smile sponsoring the North West Comedy Awards in 2005.[6]

In 2008, smile launched its ethical policy[7] vote, giving customers the opportunity to change the things that matter most to them. These included turning down millions of pounds of business, including accounts for known arms dealers, cosmetic businesses which test on animals, and companies which affect the environment with dangerous chemicals.

2009 was smile’s 10th birthday,[8] a year in which Moneywise gave smile a ‘Highly Commended’ rating for its online and call centre service.

Awards[edit]

2000

Worldwide information security award (Feb 2000)[9]

Voted the best on-line banking service by Gomez Advisors - a respected US ratings company that measures the quality of e-commerce offerings focusing primarily on the Internet (July 2000, Autumn 2000 and again Winter 2000)[10]

"Best Online Banking Team" (European Banking Technology Awards 2000 - November 2000)

"Best Web Marketing Campaign" (Future Publishing Awards - October 2000)

"Best Customer Service" at Ebusiness2000 (IT Week - September 2000)

"Best Online Banking or Savings Provider" at Online Finance Awards 2000 (Interactive Investor International - September 2000)

Awarded the 5 star award for on-line banking. "Fast, bright and miles ahead of the competition" (The Net - June 2000)

smile received 5 of the Your Money Direct awards (May 2000)

  • Editor's Special Award
  • Best Internet Credit Card Provider
  • Best Internet ISA Provider
  • Best Internet Personal Loan Provider
  • Best Direct Banking Provider on the Internet[11]
2001

Voted "Best Bank or Savings Provider 2001" at The Investors Week Online Finance Awards (November 2001)

2002

Voted top in the UK's league table for electronic banking customer satisfaction (Virtual Surveys - December 2002)[12]

Awarded "best online current account", "best savings account", "best credit card" and "best website" at the Guardian Consumer Finance Awards 2002 (June 2002)[13]

Awarded "Best Direct Banking Provider on the Internet" at the Your Money Direct Awards (June 2002)

Voted top in the UK's league table for electronic banking customer satisfaction (Virtual Surveys - February 2002 and again in May 2002)[14]

"IPPR/Guardian 2001 Public Involvement Award" for The Co-operative Bank's Ethical Policy Review 2001 (January 2002)

Awarded "Top Scorer" for online banking by Internet made easy (January 2002)

2003

Which? Magazine – Top bank for customer service

Awarded "Best Online Bank and Building Society Website" at the Online Finance Awards 2003

Voted top in the UK's league table for electronic banking customer satisfaction (Virtual Surveys - May 2003, July 2003 and again in October 2003)[15]

smile received 5 of the Your Money Direct Awards 2003

  • Best Internet Banking Provider
  • Best Internet Credit Card Provider
  • Best Internet ISA Provider
  • Best Internet Savings Account Provider
  • Best Internet Personal Loan Provider[16]

Awarded "best overall customer service", "best online current account" and "best credit card" at the Guardian Consumer Finance Awards 2003[17]

2004

Guardian and Observer Consumer Finance Awards – Best overall customer service provider and best credit card provider[18]

Your Money Direct – Best online banking provider[19]

Voted "best online bank" by readers of Personal Finance Magazine (May 2004)

Voted "the best current account in Britain" by Moneywise (March 2004) [20]

2005

Awarded "best overall customer service" for the third year running and "best credit card" at The Guardian Consumer Finance Awards 2005 (October 2005)[21]

Voted "best Internet banking provider 2005" at the Your Money Direct Awards 2005[22]

2006

Cool brands award 2006/7 - Voted one of the UK's top 100 coolest brands for 2006/7 by experts and consumers (September 2006)[23]

Your Money Direct Awards 2006 - Crowned "best Internet banking provider" for the fifth consecutive year and scooped ‘best online student account provider’.[24]

2007

Your Money - Best Internet Banking Provider (for the 6th year on the trot) and Best Student Account (July 2007)[25]

PETA Europe - Company of the Year (July 2007)[26]

2008

The People’s Choice report from Which? – smile awarded the highest customer satisfaction score for current accounts[27]

Which? Money magazine - Best Buy Current Account August 2008[28]

2009

Money Mail June 2009 - smilemore acknowledged as Number 1 packaged current account

Moneywise Customer Service Awards June 2009 - Highly commended for call and online customer service[29]

Which? Money magazine - People’s Choice Award February 2009[30]

2010

lovemoney.com - Personal Finance Awards 2010 Winner of current accounts – most loved, Winner of current accounts – overdraft, Winner of current accounts – charges and fees and Commended for current accounts – customer service[31]

Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2010 winner for the most trusted current account provider[32]

2011

Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2011 winner for the most trusted current account provider[33]

2012

Lovemoney awards – best current account, best for charges and fees, best overdraft and most loved[34]

Moneywise (shortlisted) - Most Trusted Current Account Provider Moneywise (shortlisted) - Most Trusted Financial Provider Moneywise (shortlisted) - Best Current Account for Call Centre Service Moneywise (shortlisted) - Best Current Account for Online Service Moneywise (shortlisted) - Most Trusted Credit Card Provider[35]

2013

Uswitch awards – Most trusted bank, Best value for money, best email customer service, most likely to be recommended, best online banking experience, best account switching service, best current account provider, customer satisfaction and best telephone customer service[36]

Moneyfacts – Current Account Provider of the Year[37]

2014

Current account rated four star rating by Moneyfacts [38]

2015

Current account rated four star rating by Moneyfacts[39]

2016

Current account rated four star rating by Moneyfacts[40]

Advertising[edit]

In 2000, smile launched with a national rollout and a UK-wide ad campaign, featuring the song ‘Smile’ by Supernatura[41] l. They also launched a series of web shorts, all aimed at promoting smile’s automatic cancellation from the customer’s previous bank.[42]

They also followed this up with stickers placed on bananas in Co-operative Food stores, with the phrase ‘Top Banana’ (‘bananas’ originally being a slang term for money), followed by the smile URL. Bob Head, chief executive of smile, said that new research commissioned by smile suggested that “more than 11m Brits say bananas make them smile more than any other fruit.”[43]

With a set of direct mail campaigns too, like pairs of underwear with the words ‘other banks are pants’ emblazoned on them, as well as toothbrushes to ‘keep people smiling’, smile generally uses a humorous tone when speaking to its audience.[44]

For smile’s tenth anniversary, in October 2009, the bank launched its ‘Cheer Up Britain’ campaign, showing various ‘unhappy’ celebrities and politicians (like Anne Widdecombe, Gordon Brown and Richard ‘Victor Meldrew’ Wilson) with a ‘smile’ in front of their faces. People were also encouraged to cheer up the people around them with starter packs like a joke glasses-and-moustache mask, a pink wig, feather boas and other humorous items.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "UK's first digital bank". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Smile collaboration with Fidelity Fundsupermarket". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "smile launched Sharedealing". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "Record pre tax profits for smile". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "Cape2cape challenge". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  6. ^ "Smile sponsor NW comedy awards". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  7. ^ "Smile launch ethical policy". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  8. ^ "smile celebrate 10th birthday". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "Worldwide information security award". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  10. ^ "Voted the best on-line banking service". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Money Direct awards". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "Voted top in the UK's league table for electronic banking customer satisfaction". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Awarded "best online current account", "best savings account", "best credit card" and "best website" at the Guardian Consumer Finance Awards". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  14. ^ "Voted top in the UK's league table for electronic banking customer satisfaction". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "Voted top in the UK's league table for electronic banking customer satisfaction". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "smile received 5 of the Your Money Direct Awards 2003". 
  17. ^ Awarded "best overall customer service", "best online current account" and "best credit card" at the Guardian Consumer Finance Awards http://www.theguardian.com/money/2003/jun/06/consumerfinanceawards.onlinebanking. Retrieved 13 April 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Best overall customer service provider and best credit card provider". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "Best online banking provider - money direct". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  20. ^ "Voted "best online bank" by readers of Personal Finance Magazine and voted "the best current account in Britain" by Moneywise" (PDF). Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "Best overall customer service". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  22. ^ "Best internet banking provider". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  23. ^ [Cooper, A. (2006) “CoolBrands: An insight into some of Britain’s coolest brands 2006/7”, Superbrands Ltd, London "Cool brand awards"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  24. ^ "Money Direct Awards". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  25. ^ "Your money - best internet banking provider". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  26. ^ "Company of the year - PETA Europe". 
  27. ^ "The People’s Choice report from Which?". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  28. ^ "Best buy current account - Which?" (PDF). Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  29. ^ "Moneywise - customer service award". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  30. ^ "People's choice award - Which?". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  31. ^ "Personal Finance Awards 2010 Winner of current accounts" (PDF). Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  32. ^ "Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2010". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  33. ^ "Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2011". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  34. ^ "Lovemoney awards – best current account, best for charges and fees, best overdraft and most loved". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  35. ^ "Moneywise shortlisted". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  36. ^ "Uswitch awards". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  37. ^ "Moneyfacts". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  38. ^ "Moneyfacts rating". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  39. ^ "Moneyfacts award". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  40. ^ "Moneyfacts award". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  41. ^ "Smile ad campaign - supernaturals". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  42. ^ "Smile ad web cam ad campaign". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  43. ^ "Smile banana campaign". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  44. ^ "Smile toothbrush campaign". Retrieved 13 April 2016. 
  45. ^ "Smile's tenth anniversary". 

External links[edit]