Consumers Consider JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo The Most Reputable Banks According to Market Force Study

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USAA Federal Savings Bank scores fourth, with less than 1% of the assets of the largest banks

How satisfied are you with the service provided by your primary bank?

Larger, full service U.S. banks have won the respect of the consumer for their reputations, according to a new survey conducted by Market Force Information , a worldwide leader in customer intelligence and customer experience management solutions. The survey looked at banking preferences and trends and indicated that JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America scored in the top three out of 69 banks when ranked on reputation. Each has assets in the trillions of dollars and scored 16.4%, 16.2% and 15.5% of the vote, respectively.

But USAA Federal Savings Bank, an institution that provides banking and insurance to the armed services with a fraction of the assets of the top three, was ranked fourth for reputation, a stunning accomplishment for such a focused institution. See Graph #1. Capital One and Citibank rounded out the top six banks in the survey findings, with 4% and 3.5% of the votes, respectively.

Banking Preferences and Trends
To assess banking preferences and trends, Market Force provided a list of 69 potential banks culled from a variety of sources, including Hoover’s and the American Banking Association. Of those 69 banks, six were listed by at least 3% of respondents as their primary bank—and those six companies represented more than 40% of all responses. This resulted in fairly high consolidation among this group of consumers. Bank of America came out on top with nearly 13% of respondents. Bank of America also scored at the top when asked which bank consumers think has the best reputation in the U.S.

Why Consumers Choose One Bank Over Another
When asked why they chose their primary bank, consumers focused on five major drivers: free checking and convenient branch locations led with 46% of the vote. Forty-four percent of consumers indicated that easy online banking was a reason they chose their primary bank. And friendly, personalized service rounded out the top reasons. Other important attributes include bank stability, access to free banking advice and recommendations from friends. See Graph #2.

The other interesting finding is that 14% of customers indicated that a bank’s investment in a community is also important. Although the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 requires banks to serve the local communities in which they operate, community leadership clearly impacts consumers’ perceptions.

Delight Drives Loyalty
The study also looked at how well banks are doing at serving their customers. When asked, “How satisfied are you with the service provided by your primary bank?” 83% of consumers said they are satisfied with the service provided—but only 43% are delighted. A fairly large portion of consumers—17%—said they really don’t find the service satisfying at all. Those disparities can have a large impact on a bank’s financial results.

When consumers are truly delighted by their experience, they are far more likely to refer their friends to the bank. The chart below shows that if a consumer gives a VERY SATISFIED rating (5 out of 5) versus a SATISFIED (4 out of 4), they are more than three times more likely to remain loyal and recommend the services to others. See Graph #3.

That loyalty is extremely important when you consider that seven in 10 consumers spread their banking business across multiple banks. Fifty-seven percent of consumers report having a checking account at a secondary bank; 24% do electronic banking at a secondary bank; and almost 50% have a savings account or CD at a secondary bank.

Four in 10 Consumers Looked to Switch Banks in Past Year
The study also shows that 10% of consumers switched banks in the past 12 months, and another 29% have considered switching in that same timeframe. The most common reason cited by both groups was that they were unhappy with the service, followed closely by fees. See Graph #4.

The results show that consumers have low commitment levels to their primary banks and that consumers simply are not engaged with banking brands. Although about half of consumers report that they feel they bank with the best bank available in their area and that they would recommend their bank, the really telling finding is that given slightly higher fees, 68% of consumers would consider switching because service does not offset the fee hike. In other words, if a bank raises its fees, the value provided by its services may not be enough to keep consumers from bargain hunting elsewhere.

The customer satisfaction survey was conducted in August 2010 among the Market Force network of more than 300,000 independent mystery shoppers and merchandisers—consumers across the country dubbed The Force™. The pool of 2,800 respondents ranged in age from 18 – 72 and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 53% reporting incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Seventy-two percent work full or part time. Seventy-four percent were women—the primary household consumer purchasers. Half of the participants said they have children at home.

About Market Force Information
Market Force Information, Inc. is the leading global customer intelligence solutions company for business to consumer companies including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions, entertainment studios and consumer packaged goods companies. Market Force Information has pioneered the industry with a suite of customer intelligence solutions that provide clients with the business intelligence they need to delight their customers and drive bottom-line results. The company measures store-level operations and customer attitudes through mystery shopping, customer feedback, market audits and merchandising services, with the analytics to drive targeted improvements. For more information, please visit: http://www.marketforce.com and follow us on Twitter @MarketForce.

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