Bank customers are more likely to switch
That's particularly true of big-bank customers. Those of smaller banks are generally happier and more loyal.
Only 34% of customers said they “definitely will not” switch banks, compared with 46% three years ago. However, among small-bank customers, 41% said they wouldn’t switch, compared with 32% of those who use big banks. J.D. Power says: “Higher customer satisfaction with in-person service and attention is an important contributor to increased loyalty at smaller banks.”
Other findings from the report:
- Of people who’ve switched banks, 37% cited poor customer service and 29% cited high fees. “Performing simple service acts, such as greeting customers as they enter the branch, offering additional assistance and thanking them for their business, can increase overall satisfaction by nearly 50 index points, yet less than 60% of customers report experiencing them,” J.D. Power says.
- Meanwhile, more customers are banking from home: 51% said they prefer online banking, up from 45% in 2008.
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The report also broke out results in 11 different regions or states. A few examples:
- In the Northwest, Sterling Savings Bank, Wells Fargo and Keybank all received high marks; Bank of America and Chase, not so much.
- In the Mid Atlantic, Northwest Savings Bank and Susquehanna Bank were among those that got high scores. Citibank did even worse than Bank of America.
- In Texas, Frost National Bank got top marks. Citibank and Compass Bank were least impressive.
The new survey found that “overall satisfaction of retail banking customers averages 748 on 1,000-point scale in 2010, a slight decrease from 749 in 2009. Brand image of banks also declined, with customers perceiving banks as being more profit-driven than customer-driven compared to 2009.” Imagine that.
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How can banks improve in customers’ eyes? Providing better service, more choices, and fewer surprises like new fees, the report says.
Are they listening? Perhaps. For instance, the Los Angeles Times said:
Bank of America declined to comment on the survey, but said in a statement that it was giving less weight to product sales numbers these days in evaluating employees and instead shifting to "a customer relationship-centric approach where we will grow the business by meeting customer needs."
Have you considered switching banks or have you done so? Have you found happiness at a smaller bank or credit union?
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Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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