How safe is your bank?

Ever since the financial crisis that erupted in 2007/08, savers have understandably been concerned about the health of our financial institutions.

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To reassure and protect savers and investors, the government established the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in 2001.

Under the terms of this scheme, the first £85,000 per person that is held with a single institution is totally guaranteed (£170,000 for joint accounts). For more information on this and advice on how to keep your savings safe, read our article 'How safe are your savings?'.

One measure of an organisation's financial well-being is the ratings given to it by credit rating agencies. Over recent years, a number of financial entities have seen their ratings trimmed back, reflecting uncertainty over their long-term health.

The table below shows the ratings given to the country's major savings providers by the three main ratings agencies, Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch.

How are institutions rated?

As you will see from the table below, the agencies vary in the way they present their ratings. However, broadly speaking the purpose of their rankings is to evaluate the financial strength of the institution based on its ability to meet its financial commitments. And they all rate strength in a similar way – an A-rated company is deemed to be stronger and less risky than a C-rated institution.

These ratings are usually used by institutional investors; they can be very confusing for the consumer. However, if you want to learn more about how your bank is rated, we've compiled a table to help you.

The basics:

  • The highest rating is AAA.
  • Moody’s uses numbers as well as letters. The number ‘1’ after a letter symbolises a stronger company than a number 2 or 3.
  • Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, on the other hand, use plus and minus signs after the letters.
  • A triple rating (AAA, BBB, CCC etc) of the same letter is always better than a double rating (AA, BB, CC etc), regardless of the number or plus/minus symbol that comes after it. For example, BBB- is a better rating than BB+. But an A- is a better rating than a BBB+.

The table below shows the ratings awarded by the three main ratings agencies. Please note that the agencies don't rate all providers.

Provider

 Parent company & country of origin

 Maximum level of protection

 Rating:
 Fitch

 Rating:
 Moody’s

 Rating:
 Standard & Poor’s

 Santander 
(formerly Abbey)
 
 Cahoot

 Banco Santander, Spain

 £85,000 (in total)

 A (for Santander UK plc)

 Aa3 (for Santander UK plc)

 A (for Santander UK plc)

 Allied Irish Bank

Allied Irish Banks, plc

 €100,000 will be guaranteed under the Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

 BBB-

 A2

 BBB+

 Bank of Cyprus UK

 Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus

 £85,000

B-

 Caa1

 B+

 Bank of Scotland
 The AA
 Birmingham Midshires
 Halifax
 Intelligent Finance
 Saga

 Lloyds Banking Group, UK

 £85,000 (in total)

 A+ (for Lloyds Banking Group)

 A3 (for Lloyds Bank)

A+(for Lloyds Bank)

 Bank of Ireland
 Bristol & West

 Bank of Ireland, Ireland

 €100,000 will be guaranteed under the Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

 BBB (for Bank of Ireland)

 Baa2 (for Bank of Ireland)

 BBB+

 Barclays
 

 Barclays Bank plc, UK

 £85,000 (in total)

 A (for Barclays Bank plc)

 A2 (for Barclays Bank plc)

 A (for Barclays Bank plc)

 Capital One

 Capital One Bank (Europe) plc, UK

 £85,000

 A-

 -

 -

 Chelsea Building Society

 Yorkshire Building Society, UK

 £85,000

 A- (on Yorkshire BS)

 A3 (on Yorkshire BS)

 -

 Citibank

 Citigroup Inc. USA

 £85,000

 A (on Citigroup)

-A3 (on Citigroup)

 A (on Citigroup)

 Clydesdale Bank
 Yorkshire Bank

CYBG, UK

 £85,000 (in total)

 BBB+ (on CYBG)

 -

 BBB+ (on Clydesdale Bank)

Coventry Building Society

 

Coventry Building Society, UK

 £85,000

A

 A2

 -

 HSBC
 First Direct 

 HSBC Holdings plc, UK

 £85,000 (in total)

 AA- (on HSBC Bank plc)

 Aa3 (on HSBC Bank plc)

 AA- (on HSBC Bank plc)

 ICICI Bank

 ICICI Bank Limited, India

 £85,000

 BBB- (on ICICI Bank India)

 Baa3 (on ICICI Bank India)

 BBB- (on ICIC Bank Ltd)

 Leeds Building Society

 Leeds Building Society, UK

 £85,000

 A-

 A3

 -

 Lloyds Bank

 Lloyds Banking Group, UK

 £85,000 (in total)

 A+

 Aa3

 A+

 Marks & Spencer Money

 Marks & Spencer Financial Services plc & HSBC, UK

 £85,000

 -

 -

 -

 NatWest 

 Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, UK

 £85,000

 A (on Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc)

A1 (on Royal Bank of Scotland plc)

 A- (on Royal Bank of Scotland plc)

 Nationwide 

 Nationwide Building
 Society, UK 

 £85,000 

 A (on Nationwide Building Society)

 Aa3 (on Nationwide Building Society)

 A (on Nationwide Building Society)

 NewcastleBuilding Society 

 NewcastleBuilding Society, UK

 £85,000

 -

 -

 -

 Norwich & Peterborough   Building Society

 Yorkshire Building Society, UK

 £85,000

 A- (on Yorkshire BS)

 A3 (on Yorkshire BS)

 -

 Post Office

 Bank of Ireland (UK) plc, EIRE

 £85,000

 BBB (on Bank of Ireland)

 Baa2 (on Bank of Ireland)

 BBB+ (on Bank of Ireland)

 PrincipalityBuilding Society

 Principality Building Society, UK

 £85,000

 BBB+

 Baa2

 -

 Royal Bank of Scotland
 Direct Line

 Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, UK

 £85,000

 A (on Royal Bank of ScotlandGroup plc)

 A1 (on Royal Bank of Scotland plc)

 A- (on Royal Bank of Scotland plc)

 Skipton BuildingSociety 

 Skipton Building Society, UK 

 £85,000 

A-

 Baa1

 -

 Standard Life Bank

 Standard Life Bank Plc, UK

 £85,000

 -

 -

 -

 State Bank of India

 State Bank of India, India

 £85,000

 BBB-

 Baa2

 -

 The Co-operative Bank 
 Smile

 The Co-operative Financial Services, UK 

 £85,000 (in total) 

 BBB (The Co-operative Bank Ltd)

 Caa1 (on The Co-operative Bank Plc)

 -

 Tesco Personal Finance

 Tesco plc, UK

 £85,000

 -

-

 -

 

 West Bromwich Building Society

 West Bromwich Building Society, UK

 £85,000

 -

 -

 -

 Yorkshire Building Society 

 Yorkshire Building Society, UK 

 £85,000 

 A-

 A3

 -

 

TSB

TSB Bank Limited, UK

£85,000

A-

-

 

-

 

Virgin Money

CYBG, UK

£85,000

BBB+

Baa2

BBB-

The above list is not inclusive. For further information visit the FCA website.

Current ratings and disclaimers can be found onwww.standardandpoors.com, www.moodys.com, and http://www.fitchratings.com/.

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