Satisfaction Gap Between Credit Unions and Banks Widens

December 16, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | Financial Services | Local & Directories / Small Biz | Pharma & Healthcare | Uncategorized

asci-customer-satisfaction-with-financial-institutions-2009-2011-dec11.gifThe customer satisfaction gap between credit unions and banks has significantly widened in 2011, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The index for credit unions in December 2011 jumped almost 9% year-over-year to a score of 87 on ACSI’s 100-point scale, the highest score ever reached by any of the 47 industries tracked by ACSI. At the same time, the customer satisfaction score for banks dropped 1.3% from 76 to 75, meaning that in just one year, credit unions tripled their lead over banks.

According to a Harris poll released in November, just 44% of bank customers feel very or extremely satisfied with their bank, compared to 73% of credit union members. Bank of America rated lowest of the major banks examined, with more customers not at all satisfied (10%) than extremely satisfied (6%) with the institution.

Big Banks Inch Up, Still Trail Others

Among the 4 big banks tracked by the ACSI, Wells Fargo kept its customer satisfaction stable at 73 for the third year running, but a 6% improvement for Citigroup, up from a score of 69 in 2010, placed the two banks in a tie. The other gainer among the 4 banks, JPMorgan Chase, improved 4.5% from 67 to 70, leapfrogging Bank of America in the process, which remained stagnant at 68.

Meanwhile, although the aggregate of smaller banks slipped 1% in customer satisfaction, they remained well ahead of the largest banks with a score of 79.

Life Insurance Stable, P&C Rises

Customer satisfaction with life insurance companies overall remained stable at 80, with smaller companies setting the pace with a score of 82, up from 81 a year earlier. Close behind, Northwestern Mutual also fared well, rising from 80 to 81, followed by New York Life and Prudential, which both improved about 3%, rising to scores of 80 and 79, respectively. MetLife occupied the bottom rung, slipping to a score of 77 from 78 in 2010.

By contrast, property and casualty insurers as a group performed far better this year: the industry score rose 3.8% to an all-time high of 83, driven by a growth in customer satisfaction with smaller companies, which also rose from a score of 80 to 83. Larger insurers were mostly stable, as State Farm (82), GEICO (81), Progressive (79), and Allstate (78) all maintained their scores from a year ago. Farmers Group improved 3.9% to join the group at a score of 79.

Health Insurance Satisfaction Slightly Dips

Customer satisfaction with health insurance remains low compared with other finance and insurance industries. This year, the industry’s score slid a point to 72, with the bottom score belonging to Aetna, which fell from 68 to 67. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association also suffered a 3% drop down to 68, its lowest score since 2005.

Smaller insurance companies exhibited the best score, although they also experienced a slight dip, falling from 76 to 75. Two major health insurers closed the gap with substantial gains: WellPoint jumped over 7% from 69 to 74, while UnitedHealth soared almost 11% from 65 to 72.

About the Data: The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used as inputs into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with over 200 services, programs, and websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies. ACSI results are released on a monthly basis, with all measures reported using a scale of 0 to 100.

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