You can't bank on satisfaction with the big four

CHOICE writes to bank CEOs asking them to lift game

CHOICE’s bank satisfaction survey has found the big four banks rank far below credit unions and online banks, with customer service the main bone of contention.

The consumer group says the survey, which marks the first anniversary of its Better Banking Campaign, shows the major banks still need to lift their game.

The survey of 2,500 CHOICE members found only 62% gave the big four an overall rating of very good or excellent compared with 89% for non-banks.

CHOICE CEO Nick Stace has challenged the chiefs of the big four banks to put consumers front and centre.

“I am today writing to each of the ‘big four’ banks to remind them of the key demands from Australian consumers,” says Mr Stace.

“These include removing the disproportionate charges at ATMs for onscreen balance inquiries; the need for much improved disclosure around banking products so people know what they are getting into; and linking top executives’ remuneration to customer satisfaction. We will be following up and reporting how they respond.”

CHOICE’s survey found respondents were very unwilling to promote their bank to family or friends, as opposed to the customers of credit unions who were enthusiastic proponents.

The big banks’ ‘net promoter score’ ranged from minus 34 to minus 51 compared with the credit unions’ score of plus 29.

The clear leaders in customer satisfaction were the Teachers Credit Union, UBank (an online division of NAB but not counted as big four), bankmecu, Members Equity Bank and Rabobank.

Despite the dissatisfaction with the big four, 90% of respondents who have accounts with them are likely to stay put. Most say there is no point in switching because the offer is unlikely to be any better.

However, of those who had switched, half said the existing process, which should be improved by so-called ‘tick-and-flick’ reforms in July 2012,  ranged from ‘easy’ to ‘extremely easy’.

“The good news is, switching works. Despite enormous numbers of consumers remaining stuck in the 'apathy tree', our survey shows many of those who do switch find the process relatively easy and enjoy the benefits - but it's up to us to help create a lot more movement,” says Mr Stace.

In terms of transaction satisfaction, all of the big four were ranked near the bottom and were seen as significantly more likely to charge high or excessive account-keeping and penalty fees.

CHOICE’s Bank Satisfaction Survey found the most important contributors to overall satisfaction with everyday transaction accounts were: customer service, internet banking facilities, account-keeping fees, security of money, availability of ATMs and penalty fees.

Note to editors: To read more on the CHOICE Bank Satisfaction Survey and to view CHOICE CEO Nick Stace’s letter to the ‘big four’ banks’ CEOs, see attachments.

Media contact:

Christopher Zinn, CHOICE Director Campaigns & Communications – 0425 296 442

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