Handelsbanken UK has come out on top among British high street banks for SMEs’ satisfaction with relationship management, in the first such survey commissioned by regulators.

90% of Handelsbanken’s SME customers said they would recommend the bank for its relationship management, followed by 64% for both Metro and Lloyds.

For SME overdrafts and loan services, Handelsbanken reported an 84% recommendation score, followed by Santander and Lloyds. Metro was not included due to a lack of respondents.

Handelsbanken, Metro and Santander topped the league for overall SME service quality, although Barclays came out on top for online and mobile banking satisfaction.

The survey, based on a sample of 1,200 business customers, was carried out by market research firm BDRC on behalf of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The watchdog mandated the survey, to be carried out twice a year among Britain’s 14 largest business account providers, following the publication of a 2016 study on personal and business retail banking services. The survey is meant to encourage switches between banking services providers.

The CMA has also enlisted the collaboration of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which starting 2019 will require banks to release details of available services and relevant helplines, as well as disclose major operational and security incidents.

Adam Land, senior director at the CMA, said: “For the first time, people will now be able to easily compare banks on the quality of the service they provide, and so judge if they’re getting the most for their money or could do better elsewhere.

“This is one of the many measures – including Open Banking and overdraft text alerts – that we put in place to make banks work harder for their customers and help people shop around to find the best deals for them.”

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, added: “Getting a good deal isn’t just about pricing. It’s also important for customers – including individuals and small businesses – to be able to judge the quality of service around their current account and to see whether other providers could offer something that suits them better.”

Graphics: BDRC / Competition Markets Authority