Are the Big Four Banks cleaning up their act?

Are the Big Four Banks cleaning up their act?

Last week we released the results of our annual People’s Choice Awards. Data and statistics were gathered from the 25,000 customers who rated their Banks, Credit Unions, Building Societies and Car Insurers on everything from interest rates to customer service on our site over the past year. The reviews give good insight into how Aussies are feeling about their financial providers and with such a large customer base the Big Four banks get some worthy attention.

Big Four Snapshot
For the second year running NAB have come out on top as the overall best of the Big Four Banks with a 7.37 customer satisfaction rating out of 10.

Generally, the Big Four Banks big profits and less competitive rates see them sitting distantly behind their Mutual and Direct Bank counterparts. This year was no exception. Not one of the Big Four made the final cut for the Top 5 banks in Australia. Victorias Teachers Mutual Bank, voted Australia’s Best Bank, had a whopping overall rating of 9.01 out of 10, and there was at least another 20 banks ahead of  NAB in the overall rankings.

However, the good news is the Big Four are on the turnaround. Customer satisfaction with the Big Four banks has bounced back over the last 12 months to 7.13 out of 10, a 0.26 improvement on 2011. The only bank of the Big Four to take a step backwards was ANZ, falling to the bottom of the Big Four pile with a popularity rating of 6.87 out of 10.

So what exactly is the key to keeping customers happy? Obviously customer service, competitive products and good marketing. Another key factor is trust.

Let’s look at the home loans category and how the banks fared compared with how they responded to RBA rate announcements over the last year.

In 2011, the Commonwealth Bank had the lowest rating of all home loan lenders (5.89 out of 10) after their shock Melbourne Cup rate rise. This year, the Commonwealth Bank did a massive turnaround in popularity, leap frogging up the ratings to second place (of the Big Four) with an overall rating of 6.55, up a massive 0.66 on last year. And their obedience to RBA interest rates movements seems to be the key to their new found popularity. By contrast, ANZ played villain this year with out of cycle rate increases and their ratings hit a massive downward spiral.

The people’s voice
What we love most about the Peoples Choice Awards is that it gives the Australian public a voice to their almighty banks.

It will be interesting to see what happens in next year’s People’s Choice. The RBA cut rates last week and we are yet to see any of the Big Four Bank’s pass on the full cut. So far only ING DIRECT (Australia’s Best Direct Bank 2012) and non-bank lender have passed on the full .25 basis point cut.  Let’s hope the Big Four’s ratings turnaround isn’t as short lived as their advertising campaigns.

Haven’t yet seen the full results of the People’s Choice Awards? Take a look and see how your bank matched up.

Are the Big Four Banks cleaning up their act? was last modified: June 29, 2015 by Kevin Boyle

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