For two consecutive months now, satisfaction in the banks has improved, the first time this has happened since the royal commission.
The final report of the Hayne royal commission is due this afternoon but already research is showing that satisfaction in the industry is on an upward trend.
Roy Morgan’s customer satisfaction in consumer banking report found that banks now had a 78.2 per cent satisfaction, up 78.1 per cent in November which in turn was up from 78.0 per cent in October.
Roy Morgan’s industry communications director Norman Morris said it was pleasing to see the results start to rise in satisfaction given the publicity.
“It is positive to see small improvements in bank satisfaction over the last two months, following the decline throughout most of 2018. Given the large volume of negative publicity generated by the finance royal commission and other issues, it is not surprising that satisfaction with banks declined over the year,” he said.
These two positive months are in contrast to nine months of declines during the royal commission in which satisfaction declined by 3.2 per cent.
However, despite the royal commission decline, the December result is well above the long-term average of 74.3 per cent calculated since 2001.
“It is important to note, however, that despite some decline in satisfaction, less than 6 per cent of bank customers currently say that they are dissatisfied with their bank, well below the long term average of 8.7 per cent calculated since 2001,” said Mr Morris.
Over the past two decades dissatisfaction with banks has fallen from 18.2 per cent in 2001 to 5.6 per cent in December last year, with very little change during the royal commission which was at 4.9 per cent.
Mortgage customers continue to be less satisfied than those without one, with mortgage customers satisfaction at 73.4 per cent and non-mortgage customers at 78.3 per cent.
“Mortgage customers of the banks have shown more rapid declines in satisfaction than other customers over the last year, negatively impacting overall satisfaction. It is likely that declines in mortgage customer satisfaction are as a result of out-of-cycle rate increases by some banks and tougher lending conditions due to the royal commission,” he said.
Only ING and Bendigo Bank showed increased satisfaction from prior to the royal commission up 4.1 percentage points and 0.5 percentage points respectively.
Bankwest declined by 6 percentage points followed by Westpac down by 5.9 percentage points and then ANZ with 4.4 percentage points.
CBA retained its position of having the highest satisfaction of the big four with 77.1 per cent, followed by NAB with 75 per cent and then ANZ and Westpac behind with 74.2 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.
Mr Morris said the release of the royal commission report may recap on the problem areas of the banks and that could cause a change in attitudes.
“The scheduled release of the final finance royal commission report on February 4th 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.”
Eliot Hastie is a journalist at Momentum Media, writing primarily for its wealth and financial services platforms.
Eliot joined the team in 2018 having previously written on Real Estate Business with Momentum Media as well.
Eliot graduated from the University of Westminster, UK with a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism).
You can email him on: [email protected]