Satisfaction with the major banks has reached a new high - but home loan customers are not convinced.
In November, consumers’ satisfaction with the big four improved for the fifth consecutive month to 78.4%, the highest score achieved since the series began in 1996.
Home loan customers’ satisfaction levels, however, have come out lower, at 72.4%, according to the Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking in Australia Customer Satisfaction Report.
Each of the major banks improved their customer satisfaction rating in November, with ANZ up 0.6% points, CBA up 0.4% points, Westpac up 0.3% points, and NAB up 0.1% points.
The ANZ improvement was due to their non-home loan customers, as their home loan customers’ satisfaction level fell further in November, making it the lowest of the big four banks.
Over the last 12 months, the best performer among the big four was NAB, which gained 3.2% points, closely followed by CBA, up 2.6% points. The only big four bank to show a reduction in customer satisfaction over the last 12 months was ANZ (down 1.9% points), due mainly to a drop in satisfaction among home loan customers following their announcement in January 2012 to make their timing of interest rate announcements independent of the Reserve Bank timing.
Despite the continued improvement by the big four banks (78.4% satisfied), they are still well behind mutual banks (91.6%), building societies (89.9%) and credit unions (89.0%).
Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research, says the continued improvement in big bank client satisfaction levels has generally been interrupted by attempts from individual banks to justify why they move interest rates differently to the Reserve Bank.
“Prior to [ANZ’s] announcement in January 2012, ANZ home loan customers had the highest level of satisfaction among home loan customers of the big four banks and they have currently fallen to last place.”
He says it’s surprising that with five reductions in the official cash rate in the 12 months to November 2012, home loan customers of the big four are less satisfied overall compared to a year ago.
“It would appear that the publicity being given to home loan rates not moving by as much as the official cash rate is causing considerable discontent regardless of attempts at justification by the banks.”