For the first time since the start of the Royal Commission, research from Roy Morgan shows the first monthly increase in bank satisfaction.
Only a small increase, bank customer satisfaction rose to 78.1% from the seven-year low of 78% in October.
Despite this figure being 3.1% below that in January 2018, it remains above the long-term average of 74.3% calculated since 2001 and well above the low of 58.7% in January 2001.
Over the last two decades, satisfaction with banks has generally been on an upward trend.
However, the Roy Morgan research points out the level of dissatisfaction and indifference.
The level of dissatisfaction with banks has increased from 4.9% January 2018 to 5.6% in November.
The number of customers indifferent to their bank has also increased from 14% in January to 16.3% in November.
The combination of these figures means one in five bank customers are not fully satisfied with their banks and pose a threat to customer retention. However, the figures are still below the 2001 level of 40.1% combined.
Of the ten largest consumer banks, only two saw an increase in customer satisfaction levels. ING had the highest customer satisfaction with 88.8%, a rise of 3.6% from before the Royal Commission.
Bendigo Bank follows just behind with 88.5% of customers satisfied, but only seeing a slight change of +0.1% since the start of 2018.
The bank with the biggest drop was Westpac, which saw a 5.5% decrease in customer satisfaction to 72.4%.
Both NAB and Bankwest saw a drop of 4.5%, although Bankwest still has a higher than average customer satisfaction level of 79.9%. NAB’s customer satisfaction was lower, at 74.6%.
ANZ dropped by 4.3% to 74.3% customer satisfaction and CBA, with the highest satisfaction of the big four, dropped by 3.4% to 76.7%.
Industry communications director Norman Morris said, “Given the large volume of negative publicity generated by the Finance Royal Commission and other issues, it is not surprising that satisfaction with banks has declined this year.
“It is important to note, however, that contrary to all the negative reporting on banks, the clear majority of their customers are satisfied with them and that less than 6% claim to be dissatisfied.
“The scheduled release of the final Finance Royal Commission report in February 2019 is likely to represent a major challenge to maintain satisfaction levels as it is anticipated that it will recap on a lot of problem areas and receive widespread publicity.”
The findings come from Roy Morgan’s ‘Customer Satisfaction-Consumer Banking in Australia November Report’.
It is based on face-to-face interviews with more than 50,000 consumers a year in their homes, including more than 4,000 bank customers per month.