For the first time ever, the nation’s 6 largest depository institutions scored higher than their smaller peers in overall customer satisfaction, according to the most recent survey data from the marketing firm J.D. Power & Associates. Those 6 banks are Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Financial, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo.
The customer-satisfaction survey, conducted since 2006, compares the 6 big banks with regional banks and smaller institutions. Only banks with at least $3 billion in deposits are included in the survey. “What these customers are saying is …the big banks are doing a pretty good job,'” said Rocky Clancy, vice president of the financial services practice at J.D. Power. “For years, bigger banks gave customer service lip service. Now they’re putting their money where their mouth is.”
The results – from the most recent quarterly round of polling, conducted late last year – suggest that the big banks are reaping measurable benefits from their considerable spending on consumer-facing technology.
When U.S. customers were asked by J.D. Power about banking fees and their face-to-face interactions with bankers, institutions with between $3 billion and $22 billion in deposits received the highest scores. But when it came to ATMs, online banking and mobile banking, the biggest banks held an edge.
The survey also found that the largest banks received the highest customer-satisfaction scores from young adults, while older generations gave stronger marks to smaller institutions. Likewise, consumers who are black, Asian and Latino – all groups that skew younger than whites – gave the highest ratings to the big banks. Those findings make sense, given that millennials tend to adopt new technology more quickly than their parents and grandparents do.
Back in 2012, smaller banks held a sizable lead in the J.D. Power data over both regional banks (the group with $33 billion to $180 billion in deposits) and the biggest banks, which finished last in the survey. But the gap has been narrowing, and the big banks inched ahead in the most recent polling period. The largest banks have been gaining ground across a range of customer-satisfaction realms, including bank fees, problem resolution, in-person transactions, online transactions, phone transactions and the mobile channel, according to J.D. Power.