Home loan reductions mean happy customers

by AB06 May 2014
All four major banks have been rated higher by customers in March largely as a result of their home loan borrowers increasing satisfaction on the back of reductions in home loan rates.

The satisfaction level of the personal customers of banks reached 81.8% in March, a marginal increase from 81.6% in February, but enough to achieve another record level in the 18 years since the Roy Morgan Research survey began.

The survey of over 50,000 people per annum showed Big Four banks scored 80.3% satisfaction in March, mutual banks scored 89.1%, and foreign banks achieved 84.0%.

In the six months to March, CBA further improved its leading position among the big four banks with 82.3% satisfaction, followed by NAB (80.5%), Westpac (78.4%) and ANZ (77.6%).

The biggest improver among the major banks over the last month was Westpac, up 0.4% points, followed by CBA and NAB, up 0.2% points. ANZ, down 0.3% points, showed a small decline.

All four banks showed improved satisfaction largely as a result of their home loan customers increasing satisfaction on the back of reductions in home loan rates, with Westpac home loan customers showing the biggest improvement (up 6.1% points) over the last 12 months. This is followed by CBA (up 3.2% points), ANZ (up 3.1% points) and NAB (up 1.0% points) from March 2013.

However, business lending customers reported decreased satisfaction at three of the four major banks compared to 12 months ago, with ANZ the only bank to buck the trend.

“Intense competition between the major banks over the last decade has seen satisfaction levels for consumers reach the highest level yet achieved in March 2014. This desire to delight customers is particularly evident among highly valuable mortgage customers, where the banks spare no effort to please their customers,” Roy Morgan business research director Nigel Smith said.

A recently-released Roy Morgan state of the nation report on changes in financial services since 1997 showed increased attention to customer satisfaction has rewarded the major banks with increasing market share and share of wallet over the period. As a result, smaller banks have seen their slice of the consumer financial services market decline.

“However this intense competition for consumers, particularly mortgage customers, among the big banks has not been reflected in the business financial services market – where satisfaction levels appear stagnant. ANZ’s recent attempts to be more competitive in this area has shown clear dividends in satisfaction terms, and over time should also result in improving market share,” Smith said.

Westpac and ANZ released buoyant half-year results in the past week, with NAB and CBA still to come.

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