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J.D. Power: Customer Satisfaction Reaches All-Time High for Banks

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
May 01, 2014

Despite ongoing public scrutiny, customer satisfaction with banks is at a record high as banks improve experiences for their customers, reduce problems and create a better understanding of fees, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study released recently. Yet, midsize banks are missing the mark with key audience segments, such as millennials (born 1977-1995) and minorities, with affluent customers still the least-satisfied customer segment. “Midsize banks are falling behind in meeting the needs of the fastest growing demographic groups, millennials and minorities, especially in online, mobile and problem resolution,” said Jim Miller, director of banking services at J.D. Power. “If midsize banks don’t change their focus to adjust to demographic shifts, they are extremely vulnerable and risk losing market share to competitors and becoming irrelevant.” Improving consumer sentiment with the economy and personal finances has helped lift overall satisfaction with retail banks to 785 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2014, up from 763 in 2013. Bank customers are experiencing fewer problems; when problems do occur, they are more satisfied with how they are resolved. Discontent with fees has declined, with fees satisfaction rising 46 points to 669, the highest level since before the 2010 study re-design. However, not all customers feel the same. Banks are not meeting the needs of affluent customers, the least-satisfied segment. Expectations for personalized experiences are high among affluent customers, and banks have not provided a differentiated experience to meet those expectations. “It’s remarkable that banks are failing to satisfy affluent customers, especially with deposits and liquidity so important to the life of a financial institution,” said Miller. “As boomers age, the country is poised for a huge transfer of wealth in upcoming years. As this occurs, those banks that have satisfied the affluent segment will be more competitively positioned to prosper.” Overall satisfaction among big banks improves 23 points to 782, while midsize banks improve only 11 points to 796 and regional banks improve 24 points to 784. Midsize banks have held a strong lead with satisfaction among affluent customers; however, big banks have closed the gap with a 40-point improvement. Satisfaction with midsize banks declines by 6 points among affluent customers, while regional banks improve 30 points among affluent customers. In 2014, 16 percent of customers have experienced a problem or had a complaint, down from 18 percent in 2013 and 24 percent in 2010. Satisfaction with the problem resolution process has improved to 620 in 2014 from 595 in 2013. Among customers who switched banks during the past 12 months, the most common reasons are poor customer service (28 percent); branches are not conveniently located (21 percent); and interest rates are not competitive (19 percent). Only 15 percent of these customers cite high fees as a primary reason for switching. Also, while overall banking satisfaction is at an all-time high, not all banks are serving their customers’ needs effectively. According to Miller, “Even with record high satisfaction, there are some banks that fall far short in meeting customer needs. It is easy for banks to become complacent. To stay at the top of their game, banks should focus on those customers who are not satisfied. And consumers should keep in mind they have the opportunity to shop banks to find the right combination of services, products and fees to meet their needs.” The study measures customer satisfaction with banks in 11 regions. Study results by region are: California Region: Rabobank ranks highest in the California region with a score of 832 and performs particularly well in the account information, fees and channel activities factors. Following Rabobank in the rankings are Bank of the West, Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo in a tie (796 each). Florida Region: Chase ranks highest in the Florida region with a score of 826, performing particularly well in the facility and channel activities factors. TD Bank (823) and SunTrust (814) follow in the rankings. Mid-Atlantic Region: Northwest Savings Bank ranks highest in the region with a score of 832 and performs particularly well in the product offerings factor. Susquehanna Bank (829) and National Penn Bank (825) follow in the rankings. Midwest Region: First Midwest Bank ranks highest in the region with a score of 813 and performs particularly well in the facility, account information and channel activities factors. Following First Midwest Bank in the rankings are Commerce Bank (801) and AnchorBank and UMB Bank in a tie (799 each). New England Region: Eastern Bank ranks highest in the region with a score of 817 and performs particularly well in the account information and fees factors. Rockland Trust Co. (810) and Webster Bank (794) follow in the rankings. North Central Region: With a score of 828, Huntington National Bank ranks highest in the region, performing particularly well in the product offerings, account information and fees factors. Following in the rankings are Regions Bank (816) and Flagstar Bank (809). Northwest Region: Umpqua Bank ranks highest in the region with a score of 841 and performs particularly well in the product offerings, facility, account information, fees and channel activities factors. U.S. Bank (793) and Sterling Bank (791) follow in the rankings. South Central Region: Arvest Bank ranks highest in the region with a score of 843, performing particularly well in the product offerings, facility, account information and channel activities factors. Following in the rankings are PNC Bank and Trustmark National Bank in a tie (816 each). Southeast Region: United Community Bank ranks highest in the region with a score of 854 and performs particularly well in the product offerings, facility, account information, fees and channel activities factors. Following United Community Bank in the rankings are First Citizens Bancorp (836) and Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) and First Citizens Bancshares in a tie (815 each). Southwest Region: With a score of 831, Arvest Bank ranks highest in the region, performing particularly well in the product offerings, facility, account information, fees and channel activities factors. MidFirst Bank (822) and Chase (814) follow in the rankings. Texas Region: Frost Bank ranks highest in the Texas region with a score of 856, and performs particularly well in the product offerings, account activities, fees and account information factors. Woodforest National Bank (843) and Amegy Bank (812) follow in the rankings.
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