By Ian Ackerley, CEO, NS&I
The return to sale of Guaranteed Growth Bonds and Guaranteed Income Bonds was welcomed by savers, but it was just one of several positive developments this year. In addition to Investment Guaranteed Growth Bonds, in August 2017 we launched a Junior ISA, as a successor to Children’s Bonds.
Launching two new products and bringing two popular products back on sale has meant it has been an extremely busy year for NS&I operationally; despite this our systems have performed smoothly for our customers. This operational performance was also demonstrated in early 2018 when some 885,000 customers had their 3-year 65+ Bonds mature. Again, this process was a smooth experience for our customers.
NS&I sets interest rates to balance the needs of savers, taxpayers and the stability of the wider financial services sector, while meeting our Net Financing requirement. Within a week of the Bank of England announcing a 0.25% rise in the Base Rate in November 2017 – the first rise in a decade – we announced that we would increase interest rates on some of our variable rate products by the same amount. We were in a position at this time to make this change and these interest rate rises took effect on 1 December.
While our total holdings have grown over the year, our overall share of the savings market remains broadly the same. This is important as we continue to balance the interests of our customers, taxpayers and the stability of the broader financial services sector.