Provider Focus – Habib Bank AG Zurich 

16th July 2016

We are often asked for more information on various savings providers that are of interest to savers. In this regular series of articles, we aim to turn the spotlight on these providers to give you more information about their background and history and why they are of particular interest in today’s savings market. 

Alongside these articles, you may also find our Guide to Challenger Banks useful for more information on some of the banks that are seeking to break the monopoly of the big high street names. 

We hope that you find this information useful and as always, if you have any feedback or suggestions as to who should appear in a future article, please let us know.

The provider chosen this time is Habib Bank AG Zurich, a bank that has been operating in the UK for some time, but until recently has not played an active part in the UK savings market. As a new entrant to our best buy tables, we felt that this was the ideal time to give you more information on the provider.

Background Information

Habib Bank AG Zurich originally began operating in the United Kingdom in 1974 as part of Swiss bank Habib Bank AG Zurich, which was founded in 1967.

In April 2016, the operations of the UK branch of Habib Bank AG Zurich were taken over by Habib Bank Zurich plc, which is a wholly owned UK incorporated subsidiary of the Swiss parent bank. Habib Bank Zurich plc continues to trade under the name Habib Bank AG Zurich.

To add to the confusion around the name of the bank, there is also Habib Bank UK, which although has a very similar name, is a completely different institution and should not be confused with Habib Bank AG Zurich.

Habib Bank AG Zurich offers a range of services to both business and personal customers and has eight branches located in London, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham.

Habib Bank AG Zurich is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). Habib Bank AG Zurich is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so funds placed with the provider would be covered up to £85,000 per person, should the provider go out of business. 

For more information on the FSCS, please take a look at our handy guide or call us on 0800 321 3581 to speak to one of our expert savings advisers.   

Today’s Savings Market

Whilst the provider has been operating in the UK since the seventies, up until recently it has been quiet in the savings market. However, in the last month, the provider launched new fixed rate bonds that pay competitive rates and as a result, Habib Bank AG Zurich is the latest provider to make its debut in our best buy tables.

The 6 month bond is the top-paying, widely available bond of this term on the market at the time of writing, whilst the 1 year bond is sitting in joint third place in our best buy table. 

For more information on the accounts, click on the links below.

6 Month Fixed Rate Deposit – 1.30% gross/AER
1 Year Fixed Rate Deposit – 1.55% gross/AER

For alternatives and to compare the accounts to the rest of the market, please take a look at our Best Buy Tables.

Application Process and Customer Service 

You can only apply for the accounts above online and there is a relatively low minimum opening balance requirement of £1,000. Whilst online only applications are common amongst many of the top savings rates at the moment, this will not suit everyone, so those who do not have access to the internet or prefer not to use it for financial transactions, will have to look elsewhere.

That said, the application process appears to be straightforward and we haven’t received any negative feedback from those that have applied for the accounts.

Our Concierge department has had interactions with Habib Bank AG Zurich and their dealings with the provider have been positive overall. 

We certainly have not been made aware of many negative experiences so far from any of our clients or from our own dealings with the provider. Of course, as mentioned earlier, your thoughts and experiences about providers’ customer service are invaluable for us, particularly about providers that are new to us or to the savings market, so please get in touch to share any feedback you have.  

A final word…

It is tempting to stick to the well-known brands when it comes to savings accounts, but in doing so, you may be missing out on some of the best rates on the market. Whilst there are some exceptions, for example High Interest Current Accounts, you can no longer rely on the larger brands and high street names to offer the best interest rates. Providers like Habib Bank AG Zurich are aiming to drive competition in the savings market and offer some of the best rates available at the moment. The best strategy is to look at all options and take each provider on its own merits, considering alternative providers to get the best returns for your money. As long as you do your research (or ask us for more information!) and are comfortable with the provider, there is no reason not to consider them. 

As mentioned earlier, if there is a provider that you would like to see featured in a future article, please let us know. We are also keen to hear from you if you have any feedback about any provider’s customer service, good or bad! Please contact us at [email protected] to share your experiences.

 

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