I am a Cooperative Bank customer and I recently helped a french student coming to study in the UK to open a bank account. I recommended this bank as I was reasonably happy with their service - but what a mistake ! It took about 10 trips to the bank with countless documents from landlords, tutors, university etc...and one month to finally come to the conclusion that he couldn't open an account with them ! HSBC were able to give him the same answer in 10 minutes and Barclays opened a student account for him immediately. The story speaks for itself really - it was the University of Sheffield branch by the way.