Mobile Banking Gains Ground, But Physical Banks Still Reign, According to New Market Force Information Study

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Chase, U.S. Bank and PNC Bank repeat as the top national banks based on satisfaction

banking chase wells fargo U.S. Bank bank of america pnc bank finance

Graph 4: National Banks Ranked on Customer Loyalty Index

Most consumers don’t see their banks investing in their financial well-being, customizing services to their needs or helping them with money-saving tool

While mobile banking continues to take center stage, in-person interactions, such as advisory services, present some of the strongest opportunities for retail banking to increase customer satisfaction and drive referrals, according to a new study by Market Force Information, an innovator in customer experience management. More than 3,800 consumers were polled for the study, which reveals banking technology trends, America’s favorite national banks and what it takes to get consumers to love a bank brand.

Banking App Downloads Up 7%
Market Force Information found that 72% of consumers whose bank offers a mobile app have downloaded it, an increase of 7% compared to 2014. Those in the 18-24 year-old range have the highest adoption rate at 93%, but there are increases across all age groups. In fact, nearly half of those over age 65 use their bank’s app. [See Graph 1]. The most prevalent app activities are checking balances, checking payment history and transferring funds. Very few are using the app to apply for new bank accounts or withdraw emergency cash.

Digital Wallet Growth Sluggish
While mobile app use is on a fast track, digital wallets aren’t enjoying the same success. More than half of consumers surveyed don’t know what a digital wallet is, and only 12% are using them. PayPal Mobile is the most widely used, although Apple Passbook has gained the greatest momentum in the past year. The most popular uses are making payments, storing loyalty cards and making “tap-and-pay” purchases.

Physical Banking and Human Touch Build Loyalty
Even as new technologies take hold, the vast majority of consumers still retain retail bank accounts and visit branch locations. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed use a traditional retail bank as their primary provider, while 29% use a credit union, community bank or microfinance bank. Conversely, only 3% primarily use an e-bank.

Contrary to expectations, consumers visit their banks fairly frequently. In the past 90 days, 21% of consumers went into a branch to speak with an advisor about products and services, and 72% conducted a transaction with a cashier.

Of those consumers who recently met with an advisor, 16% reported a poor experience. However, when they do speak with an advisor, their satisfaction levels increase by 6% and they are 7% more likely to recommend their bank to others. [See Graph 3].

“The investment made by banks in their financial advisors continues to pay dividends,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force Information. “When banks focus on their customers’ experiences with a keen eye toward serving their specific financial needs, loyalty increases dramatically.”

Preserving loyalty is highly important, given that 12% of consumers said they are thinking about switching from their current retail bank to a different retail bank. The primary reasons given centered on both dissatisfaction with fees and the service provided by the bank, particularly when it comes the customer’s financial well-being.

Chase and U.S. Bank Again Rank As Favorite National Banks
To learn which banks are delivering exceptional experiences, Market Force Information asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent banking experience, and their likelihood to refer that national bank to others. The results were averaged to attain a Composite Loyalty Score. For the second year in a row, the top five were Chase, U.S. Bank, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. [See Graph 4].

Satisfaction (Not) Guaranteed – What Customers Really Want
Market Force Information uncovered four major factors that impact a customers’ satisfaction in banking: Transparency & Fairness, Security & Reputation, Ease of doing Business, and Location Convenience. There is an 81 percentage-point lift in satisfaction levels when banks perform well in all four areas.

“The national brands we evaluated are doing well on the basics, such as handling transactions and offering branch convenience, but they’re missing the mark in areas that enable them to build trust,” said Flink. “For instance, most consumers don’t see their banks investing in their financial well-being, customizing services to their needs or helping them with money-saving tools.”

Chase and U.S. Bank Dominate Core Attributes
Chase – the study’s leader – ranked first in three out of four areas that impact satisfaction, including transparency, security and convenience. U.S. Bank was voted the easiest to do business with and came in second in all other areas. Out of the five banks studied, Bank of America was last in each attribute. [See Graph 5].

Survey Demographics
The survey was conducted in September 2015 across the United States. The pool of 3,853 respondents reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with nearly 52% reporting household incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Respondents’ ages ranged from 18 to over 65. Approximately 63% were women and 37% were men.

To stay up to date on all of the latest banking news, trends and discussions, follow Market Force Information’s Retail Banking Insights page on LinkedIn:

About Market Force Information
Market Force Information provides insights into operational excellence and customer experiences for multi-location businesses, including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions, entertainment studios and consumer packaged goods companies. Market Force Information’s solution suite includes data collection (mystery shopping, customer surveys, contact center, employee engagement), a technology platform for integrating data streams, and predictive analytics models for financial results. The company enables brands with decision tools to protect the brand reputation, delight customers and make more money. More information can be found at


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