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Big Bank Customer Satisfaction Improves in Spite of Fees

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Big Bank Customer Satisfaction Improves in Spite of Fees
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There has been a rise in fees on checking accounts in recent years which dissatisfied many customers. But the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study shows customers are more satisfied with their relationships with banks now that they have had some time to get used to those fees.

The study, which was released last month, showed a ten-point increase in overall customer satisfaction with banks over the previous year. But satisfaction with big banks—defined as the six largest financial institutions with average yearly deposits of $180 billion or more—jumped 16 points, indicating that their increased emphasis on customer service is working.

The overall increase in satisfaction is largely due to improvements services like mobile banking and clarifying fees, which have been a major source of customer complaints. In 2012, only 26% of those surveyed said that they “completely” understood their bank’s fee structure. This year, 33% did.

Mobile banking takes off

People prefer to do their banking remotely, as is evidenced by the decline in transactions at bank branches and the increase in online, ATM, and mobile banking transactions. Mobile banking, especially, is becoming more popular. Usage is up 6% this year, to 17%. The average customer sureveyed made 29 mobile banking transactions per year in the 2012 survey. In 2013, that number is up to 51.

Envelope-free ATM deposits and the ability to make a deposit by taking a picture of a check and depositing it via smartphone make it easier for customers to avoid waiting in line at the bank teller window.

Bank shopping tips

J.D. Power offered a few ideas for consumers to keep in mind when shopping for a new bank:

  • Review and compare fee structures for services you use.
  • Consider your preferences like whether you like to bank remotely and focus on the banks access to those services and what their offerings are.
  • Keep in mind reward programs and discounts if those are things you use.

This is the eighth year that the J.D. Power and Associates conducted its U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. More than 50,000 consumers were asked about their banking experiences, including factors like account information, fees, problem resolution and product offerings. The study measured customer satisfaction in 11 regions of the United States. More information about the study is available at

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