By Claire West
Following enormous pressure from thousands of students and graduates from across the country, HSBC has made the decision to reverse its decision to charge full interest on graduate overdrafts.
Commenting on the decision, Ama Uzowuru, NUS Vice-President (Welfare) said:
“We are pleased that HSBC has recognised that this policy would hit graduates just as they are at their most vulnerable. Students often struggle in low paid, insecure jobs upon graduation and the prospect of having the security of the interest-free graduate service pulled from under their feet is clearly unacceptable. Graduates are now more likely to be in debt than ever before.
“NUS looks forward to future dialogue with HSBC about how their accounts can benefit students and graduates alike. Banks must realise that it is in their interests to support students while they are studying and after they graduate. We remain committed to ensuring that banks do not punish the increasingly indebted graduates of the future. ”
This NUS campaign attracted enormous support from students and graduates, along with widespread interest from the media because it was conducted almost entirely online, particularly on the online networking site, Facebook and the 'Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-off!!!' group, which has attracted more than 4,000 members.
Commenting on the nature of the campaign, the Facebook group's founder, NUS Vice-President (Education), Wes Streeting said:
"There can be no doubt that using Facebook made the world of difference to our campaign. By setting up a group on a site that is incredibly popular with students, it enabled us to contact our members during the summer vacation far more easily than would otherwise have been possible. It also meant that we could involve our former members - the graduates who were going to be most affected by this policy."
“HSBC’s decision to reverse this policy is a victory for this NUS campaign and the individual action of students and graduates across the country. The fact that this U-turn has been forced is a testament to the role of unity and communication in empowering students and encouraging fair deals from student and graduate bank account providers."
In a statement HSBC said;
"Following the feedback from our graduate account holders, both directly and via the NUS, we have taken the decision to freeze interest charging on 2007 graduates overdrafts up to £1,500."