Customers more unhappy with U.S. banks: survey
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Higher fees and a worsening image for U.S. banks have left customers of the nation's biggest lenders more dissatisfied with the service they receive, a J.D. Power and Associates survey shows.
Only 35 percent of customers polled said they are highly committed to their retail banks, down from 37 percent in 2008 and 41 percent in 2007.
Banks that did well include Wells Fargo and its Wachovia unit, Arkansas' Arvest Bank, BNP Paribas' Bank of the West, Missouri's Commerce Bank, Bank of Montreal's Harris Bank, Connecticut's People's United Bank and Canada's TD Bank, J.D. Power said.
In contrast, lenders with below-average customer satisfaction rankings in multiple geographic regions include two of the nation's largest banks, Bank of America and Citibank, the survey shows.
Rising fees were the main reason that customers switched banks. One in three who changed banks in the last year said they did so because of higher fees, according to the survey, which was released on Tuesday.
A study late last year by Bankrate.com found that lenders were imposing record high fees on such items as bounced checks and ATM charges, while boosting the minimum deposit amounts needed to avoid monthly fees.
J.D. Power also said customers with above-average deposit balances had low levels of commitment to their banks.
This may reflect the preference of many customers to chase high yields, such as on certificates of deposit, and switch banks when those yields expire.
It may also reflect fear about whether high balances are secure, despite last year's hike in federal deposit insurance limits, typically to $250,000 per depositor per bank.
One positive is that banks are reaching out sooner to fix problems, reducing the frequency with which customers need to contact banks to get help, the survey found.
J.D. Power said its survey is based on responses from 28,570 households polled in January. The firm is a unit of McGraw-Hill Cos.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Brian Moss)
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