National Savings & Investments, the Government-backed savings provider, re-launched its Index-linked Savings Certificates earlier in May. The certificates, only available for a five-year term, are tax-free and pay a rate of interest based on the rate of inflation - worked out using the Retail Price Index (RPI) - plus a fixed rate of 0.50%, making them an attractive option for those looking to save.
The bonds, which give savers a protection against inflation, were withdrawn from the market last July amid fears that their popularity was making it more difficult for banks and building societies to compete for new deposits. However, the decision made in March’s budget, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, to increase the net financing target by £2bn for NS&I has allowed them to re-introduce the savings certificates.
The re-introduction could prove to be just as popular as previous years, with the bonds expected to sell out in weeks. BrandIndex Buzz scores, which measure the amount of positive and negative noise around the brand, has seen a huge increase since the news first broke on May 11. Here, Buzz for NS&I stood at 3.6 points, rocketing to reach a high of 15.3 points by May 25.
Even more encouraging for the savings provider, is that overall brand health saw a small but significant increase following the re-launch. Index scores rose from 14.1 points on May 11, to a peak of 17.7 points on May 25. Looking into more detail at the Index scores amongst older savers (those aged 50 and over) who have really suffered in the current low interest-rate, high inflation environment, the scores over the same period increased from 18.4 points to 25.9 points.
One of the major driving forces in this increase is NS&I’s Impression scores amongst the general public, rising from 13.4 points on May 11 to 20.5 points on May 25. However, the focus amongst those aged 50 and over is on both Quality and Value, with these rising from 19 points to 28.8 points and 13.4 points to 23.4 points respectively in the two week period.
This is good news for a brand already at the top of the leader board across the majority of BrandIndex measures in a traditionally unpopular sector.