Out-of-cycle hikes see banks cop it from customers

by Adam Smith27 Mar 2012

Major banks have copped it from customers following February's rate hikes.

Roy Morgan Research's monthly banking satisfaction survey has indicated banks saw their first decline in customer satisfaction since March 2011, and out-of-cycle movements following February's RBA rate hold were the culprit. Communications director Norman Morris said holding the dubious position of first mover has proven to bring the most customer heat.

"On this occasion it was the ANZ who increased their home loan rate first and as a result their home loan customers showed the largest drop in satisfaction among the home loan customers of the big four. This was despite the fact that the increase in the ANZ rate was the lowest of the big four. It is worth noting that Westpac were the next to announce their home loan rate increase and as a result they also showed a significant drop in the satisfaction level of their home loan customers," Morris said.

NAB recorded the largest drop in overall satisfaction, but Morris said this was due to a decline in satisfaction among non-home loan customers. The bank's home loan customer satisfaction rating remained "virtually unchanged", Morris said.

"This may have something to do with the fact that they were the last of the big four to announce an increase in their home loan rate," he said.

The banks have still managed to hold onto the overall satisfaction gains they clawed back over the year. NAB remains in first place, with 78.7% satisfaction, up 6.5% since February 2011. ANZ held onto its second spot at 77.9% satisfaction, with CBA coming third at 77.3% and Westpac at the bottom of the pile with 75.8%.

NAB gained the most traction in overall satisfaction over the year, while CBA saw the greatest increase in satisfaction among its home loan customers, improving 9.2%.

Smaller banks continued to outdo the majors in the estimation of their customers. Heritage Bank was the top performer, with 91.9% satisfaction, while ING Direct rated 90% satisfaction and Bendigo Bank saw an 89.8% satisfaction rating.

Related stories:

Banks forgiven for 2010 hikes

NAB 'break up' satisfaction slowing

Satisfaction gap closing between majors