Mixed News on Consumer Satisfaction

Key findings of a J.D. Power study released last week are good news for the nation’s largest retail banks. For regional and midsize banks, not so much.

The 11th annual customer satisfaction study had 75,000 customers evaluate more than 130 banks, measuring their satisfaction in the areas of:

  • Account information
  • Channel activities (ATM, branch, call center, IVR, mobile and website)
  • Facility
  • Fees
  • Problem resolution
  • Product offerings

On a 1,000 point scale, the country’s largest retail banks improved their score for the sixth year in a row, scoring 793, up from 790 in 2015. Meanwhile, regional banks held steady at 790—the same as last year. And midsize banks suffered their first drop since 2010, from 802 in 2015 to 797 this year.

What the Numbers Mean

Study authors attribute the ongoing improvements in big banks’ customer satisfaction ratings to high scores for mobile, ATM and online offerings. Perhaps related are findings that big banks also enjoy the most success at acquiring and satisfying customers in the 18-35 age group.

The long-term concern for midsize banks is that regulatory costs are making it difficult for them to make the tech investments necessary to compete with the big banks. This may cause them to steadily lose ground in terms of customer satisfaction.

The Branch: Still Standing

Although bank branches continue to decline in number, they appear to remain a preferred venue for resolving problems and completing complex transactions. And while the percentage of customers opening accounts online is increasing, branches score higher as a channel for enhancing product understanding and reducing future problems.

And the Winners Are

The highest-scoring banks in 11 U.S. regions are: U.S. Bancorp in California and the Northwest; TD Bank in Florida; UMB Bank, Kansas City, Mo., in the Midwest; Northwest Savings Bank, Warren, Pa., in the Mid-Atlantic region; Bangor Savings Bank, Bangor, Maine, in New England; Huntington National Bank, Columbus, Ohio, in the North Central region; Trustmark National Bank, Tupelo, Miss., in the South Central region; United Community Bank, Blairsville, Ga., in the Southeast; Arvest Bank, Bentonville, Ark., in the Southwest; and Frost Bank, San Antonio, in Texas.