The BBC reports that the bank, HSBC, has made a u-turn on its plans to charge UK students interest on their loans when they graduate. HSBC had planned to introduce a 9.9% interest rate on overdrafts for students graduating this summer (up from its previous rate of 0.0%).
When HSBC first made its announcement, students and the NUS (the National Union of Students) protested that the loans had been taken out by people who had joined the HSBC bank believing that there student-type interest free loans would tide them over between graduating and getting a full-time job, and they mounted a campaign to change HSBC’s mind. But the protest was going nowhere.
Enter FaceBook and a number of groups urging a boycott of HSBC. One group “Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off!!!Global” has over 5000 members.
To HSBC’s credit, once they saw the way the wind was shifting they moved quickly. The bank has scrapped its plans for interest rates on graduate loans of up to £1500 and says “It is not too big to listen”.
If HSBC really learns the Web 2.0 lesson it could be a very valuable lesson.