Consumer satisfaction with the nation’s financial institutions is slipping again, according to a national survey released last week,

The 2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index found that banks edged ahead of credit unions for the first time in the index’s history, thanks in large part to availability of technological advances in product offerings.

Banks overall scored 80 out of 100, down from 81 in 2018.

Meanwhile, credit unions dropped from 81 to 79.

Index officials surveyed 30,413 customers between Oct. 28, 2018, and Sept. 20, 2019.

“Customers want mobile options, and big banks have the resources to deliver,” says David VanAmburg, the index’s managing director. “... The personalized service that’s the hallmark of smaller banks and credit unions may no longer be as critical to customers, especially a younger demographic.”

The customer fraudulent account scandal that began in September 2016 continues to shadow Wells Fargo & Co., which was tied for last among the 14 national and super-regional banks with a 76 score that was up two points from 2017.

In August 2017, Wells Fargo confirmed there were at least 3.53 million accounts affected by the scandal, up from the 2.1 million announced in September 2016 when the fraudulent activities were acknowledged.

BB&T Corp. was ranked first among the super-regional banks with an 80 score, which represented a one-point gain from the 2018 survey. SunTrust Banks Inc., which BB&T is scheduled to acquire in a $30.4 billion megadeal on Dec. 6, had a 76 score.

The index has been measuring customer satisfaction with banks since 1995 and with credit unions since 2008.

Citigroup had the highest score of the four national banks at 81, an increase of one, followed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. at 79, down one, and Bank of America Corp. at 77, up one. PNC Financial Services Group has a 79 score.

Index authors said credit unions can improve customer satisfaction “by providing more financial services, making it easier to open and change accounts, and offering more competitive interest rates.”

Todd Hall, chief executive of Truliant Federal Credit Union, has said “the index’s authors perpetuate an unfortunate myth: that credit unions lag in digital technology.”

“Truliant’s mobile and online access is second to none — including the largest of financial institutions,” Hall said.

The index also determined that customer satisfaction with property and casualty insurance dropped during 2019 to a 79 score.

State Farm had the highest rating of the eight insurers surveyed, at 81.

The overall score for life insurers was 80, led by Mutual of Omaha and New York Life at 82.

Health insurers were at 74, led by Humana at 79 and Kaiser Permanente at 77. Aetna was at 76, United Healthcare at 75, Cigna at 72 and Blue Cross Blue Shield at 71.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.



Load comments