St. George is handily besting its competitors in overall business banking satisfaction, but remains only an average performer in business loan satisfaction.
The Roy Morgan Business Banking Satisfaction Index - typically a leading indicator of overall consumer satisfaction - has shown that banks edged up slightly in December in the estimation of their business customers. St. George was the clear leader at 71.4% satisfaction, with parent bank Westpac its closest competitor at 67.6%.
Overall satisfaction among business customers gradually increased over 2011, going from 61.4% in November 2010 to 65.5% in December 2011. St. George managed to raise its satisfaction rating 7.4% over the year, but lagged in the area of business loans, remaining around average satisfaction levels.
Commonwealth Bank was the survey's loser, tracking at the bottom of the pile. Roy Morgan Research indicated CBA carried a low rating "across most areas, but particularly loans, cards and relationship manager performance".
In spite of the rise in satisfaction, Roy Morgan communications director Norman Morris said banks will have to lift their game if they are to capitalise on a renewed hunger for business credit.
"With the potential for profitable growth becoming much less amongst consumers there is likely to be increased competition for growth in the business market, with the result that more focus will need to be on understanding the needs of business customers," Morris said.
Relationships appear to be the weak link in business banking, Morris indicated. He said business customers complain that banks do not maintain regular contact or follow relevant industry developments, and that this will have to change in order for banks to catch up to their performance in consumer banking.
"In the future they will need to focus more on the needs and concerns of their customers and show greater interest in what is obviously a more complex market compared to consumer banking," Morris said.
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