HSBC has responded to a Facebook-based campaign against its charges for graduates – another sign that social networking sites have become a hotbed of consumer activity and that big brands are listening.
Following the protests, the bank said it would reverse its decision to abolish interest-free overdrafts for students leaving university this summer and would refund charges they have already paid.
More than 5,000 members had joined a group set up by The National Union of Students (NUS) called ‘Stop the Great HSBC Rip-Off’, while several other pages had been set up to call for a boycott of the bank.
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."
NUS vice president Wes Streeting, who set up the group, told the BBC:
"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."