Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Banks score higher in satisfaction survey

Despite criticism of banks over rising fees, tight-lending policies and more, the industry generally received an improved score in a new satisfaction survey.

Researcher J.D. Power and Associates found that small-business customers gave banks an average score of 717 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 711 in 2010. Results were based on responses from nearly 7,000 decision makers at small companies -- those with annual sales from $100,000 to $10 million.

The survey evaluated 24 larger banks, including eight with notable operations in Arizona. Banks were evaluated on eight criteria, including products, fees, account management and problem resolution. Compared with 2010, customer satisfaction rose in all areas except fees.

"Contrary to popular belief that most customers are unhappy with their bank, small-business banking customers are more satisfied than last year across nearly all aspects of the banking experience," Michael Beird, a J.D. Power director, said in a statement. "In addition, credit availability has increased, indicating greater stability and a return to some degree of normalcy within the small-business banking environment."

M&I Bank got the highest overall score, 768.

"Although M&I Bank has a higher incidence of maintenance fees than other banks ranked in the study, customers clearly perceive value for their money," Beird said. "While much of the negative press surrounding banks focuses on fees, it's more important to focus on what really matters -- providing a highly satisfying banking experience and ensuring that customers are seeing the value in any fees they pay."

Other banks operating in Arizona that beat the average score of 717 included Comerica Bank (745), Bank of the West and U.S. Bank (738 each) and BBVA Compass (728).

The three largest banks operating in Arizona scored below average. Chase received a grade of 711, Wells Fargo was next to last at 683 and Bank of America was last at 669.

The survey by J.D. Power, based in Westlake Village, Calif., was conducted in August and September.

by Russ Wiles The Arizona Republic Oct. 24, 2011 04:26 PM

Banks score higher in satisfaction survey

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