financial services

Citibank Leads National Banks In Study

Citibank leads among national banks with a 12-percent jump in customer satisfaction, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. 

Wells Fargo loses the top spot by improving the least, adding just 1% to 76, and is now below average as the other national banks post greater gains. Bank of America (+10%) and Chase  (+6 %) at 75 are closing in on Wells Fargo.

Overall customer satisfaction with banks and health insurance is up, per ACSI.

The report covers the finance and insurance sector, which includes retail banks, credit unions, health insurance, property and casualty insurance, life insurance and internet investment services.

ACSI data shows that customer satisfaction varies widely within and across industries, as seen for example in the retail banking industry, and that companies that experience declining satisfaction often see customer defections in greater numbers soon thereafter, says Forrest Morgeson, ACSI director of research.

“In turn, these companies see their bottom line suffer,” Morgeson tells Marketing Daily. “In an era where consumers have virtually unlimited alternatives, satisfying customers is more important now than ever.”

Bank customer satisfaction climbs 5.3% to an ACSI score of 80 on a 100-point scale. Regional and community banks lead with a combined score of 83 (+3.8%). Super regional banks gain 3.9% to 79. 

Although national banks rank lowest, they are the most improved (+6.9% to 77). Credit unions edge up 1.2% to 82, slightly below the industry’s long-term average. Similar to smaller banks, credit unions offer more personalized service, and also are generally more likely to have lower fees and free checking. 

Consumers like personalized service in any industry, and smaller banks are better able to offer that than the big national banks, Morgeson says.

“Compared with the larger super regional and national banks, consumers give higher marks to smaller banks for customer service, websites and call centers,” Morgeson says. 

BB&T (+%) leads super regional banks at 82, and Fifth Third Bank (+8%) takes second place (81). Capital One, Citizens Bank, KeyBank and SunTrust Bank all come in at 80, just above the category average and TD Bank (79). PNC Bank is unchanged at 78, tying Regions Bank (-1%), with U.S. Bank in last place at 77.

“The biggest surprise in this year’s results is the significant improvement in the retail banking industry,” Morgeson says. “The industry average is up 5.3% to the highest satisfaction score for retail banking in 23 years, when ACSI measurement first began.” 

The health insurance industry improves 4.3% to 72 as all major providers post gains. Large boosts for Aetna and Anthem lift the two companies into a tie for first place at 75. Kaiser Permanente is up 4% to 74, Humana (+1% to 72) matches the industry average, while Blue Cross and Blue Shield comes in just below at 71. UnitedHealth advances 6% to 70, and Cigna, despite improving the most, comes in last place at 67. 

Property and casualty insurance is the only category in the sector to decline, down 1.3% to 78. Waning customer satisfaction for the industry is the result of a 5-percent fall for smaller insurers. Many of the largest insurers, however, improve. AAA takes the lead, up 8% to 81. Nationwide increases by 5% to 79, GEICO inches up 1% to tie the industry average at 78, and the rest of the industry clusters below at 77. The exception is Farm Bureau, moving in the opposite direction and falling 8% to last place at 74.

The ACSI report is based on 9,608 customer surveys collected in the third quarter of 2016.

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