Leading online bank First Direct says it is considering a plan to offer young customers who rent their homes legal help to tackle disputes with landlords.

This plan, which is made easier to implement by the bank’s non-participation in the buy-to-let mortgage market, has been revealed during an interview with Chief Executive Chris Pitt in a Scottish newspaper.

Pitt, who says the bank is ‘too small’, told The Herald that he wants First Direct to appeal to a greater number of younger people and is hoping to attract some 1.1 million new customers between 18 and 35 years old.

Some two-thirds of the bank’s customers are currently over the age of 46, although its advertising these days is much more youth focussed (main image).

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To sign-up more ‘millennials’, Pitt says First Direct is ‘kicking around’ several ideas to cater for their needs.

Legal services

This includes giving those who rent their homes access to ‘landlord-related legal services’, but also helping them save up for a deposit to buy their first home.

“I am not going to pretend that some of them are easy to do, especially the things that are most tangible, but what we do want to do is become a company that does tangibly deliver for what matters to these younger people,” he told the Herald.

Legal services for tenants within the private rented sector are largely concentrated on helping those facing either eviction or unravelling deposit deduction disputes.

Pitt’s comments follow increasing commentary from within the housing market that more and more tenants, faced with the insurmountable financial obstacle of getting on the property ladder, are resigned to longer-term renting.

First Direct, which is a subsidiary of banking giant HSBC, has no physical branches and other than its advertising, the bank’s only high-profile existence outside the internet is its sponsorship of the First Direct Arena in Leeds.



2 COMMENTS

  1. If First Direct go this route I will be forced to reconsider my position as a FD customer. Given that Nationwide have jumped into bed with Shelter it appears LLs are going to have to think hard about who they bank with.

  2. “First Direct customers say they cannot get through to the online and phone-only bank, three months after it promised to hire more staff.

    Customer ratings of the branchless bank, which is part of HSBC, have fallen from an average of 2.1 out of 5 in July to 1.8 on the consumer site Trustpilot. Almost two out of three reviews had a rating of 1 and so were classed as “bad”.”

    Source – TheTimes – 16 October 2021

    I am annoyed First Direct are jumping on the anti-landlord band wagon.

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