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French want their banks to move with the times

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09:52 CEST+02:00

Customers are frustrated with banks that have inconvenient opening hours and long queues, according to a new survey.

The survey, by Ifop for banking technology provider Wincor Nixdorf, found that one-third of those questioned felt their banks had not adapted to their lifestyle. 

Most banks in France are closed on Mondays and almost all still shut at lunchtimes, even in large cities, making it difficult for many workers to visit their branch.

A typical bank lunch break will last one hour and 15 minutes, sometimes even longer. Many branches then close again by 5.30pm.

Once inside the bank, 35 percent of those questioned complained that queues were too long.

The biggest complaints were over charges with 93 percent finding them "abusive and unjustified." Charges for transfers, online banking and ordering a cheque book were particularly criticized.

On the plus side, 80 percent were satisfied with the personal banker assigned to them by their local branch, although more than half felt the person they dealt with changed too often.

"Despite an image of banks that have been damaged by the economic crisis, people remain very attached to their local bank branches," said Frédéric Micheau. "There is a real split between the management of banks, responsible for the crisis, and the local branches with whom people have a more relaxed relationship."

87 percent of those questioned now use online banking regularly, mainly for checking their account (84 percent), making a transfer (74 percent) or ordering a cheque book (42 percent).

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