All four major banks are “doing well” and have “lifted their game,” according to the latest “Rank the Banks” survey of Financial Counselling Australia.
The third annual poll of nearly 300 financial counsellors across the country placed Commonwealth Bank (CBA) ahead of its peers by a miniscule margin, with a score of 7.2 out of 10. NAB placed second at 7.1, while ANZ and Westpac both achieving a score of 7.0. CBA was the most improved lender, as it placed last during the first poll in 2015.
Respondents were also asked to rate the quality of communication with each of the major lenders’ hardship teams when they first contacted them and then in subsequent contact. For subsequent contact, financial counsellors were asked to consider factors such as reliability of returned calls, responses within 21 days for hardship requests or if agreements are confirmed in writing.
CBA was rated the highest for both the first contact and the subsequent contact, but the difference between all the banks was quite small at a 6% maximum rate.
Overall results were much lower for smaller banks, as they notched scores ranging from 3.2 to 5.7 out of 10. Bendigo and ING Direct were the only two banks that had higher ratings in 2017 than in previous years, said the survey. Suncorp essentially remained the same, whereas the ratings for all the other smaller banks were lower in 2017 compared to previous surveys.
“One possibility is that senior management support for change is ultimately lacking, or that with smaller staff numbers, staff turnover means that corporate memory is lost,” Financial Counselling Australia said.