In New Zealand, the average retail banking customer is more satisfied with their bank than they were two years before, according to a survey conducted and analysed by The University of Auckland Business School.
According to Associate Professor Richard Brookes, Head of the Department of Marketing at The University of Auckland Business School, the two lowest-key players - TSB Bank and Kiwibank - are starting to make an impression in the market. Kiwibank, which appears in the survey for the first time this year, entered near the top of the rankings, alongside TSB Bank.
The report, entitled 'Retail Bank Customer Survey for 2005', says that TSB Bank has led the field in terms of customer satisfaction from its first entry in the survey (in 2000) until the last survey (in 2003). But the bank has been matched this year by Kiwibank. Professor Brookes comments that if he had to pick just one winner, "TSB's stellar performance across key measures such as fee levels, overall quality of everyday banking services, and potential customer loyalty gives it a slight edge".
But within the country's five major banks, ASB remains in first place. Those showing improvements since the 2003 survey (there was no survey in 2004) included ANZ and National. BNZ remained at the same level as in the 2003 survey, while Westpac's satisfaction rating improved this year (despite remaining in fifth place).
According to Professor Brookes, the stronger performance of the two smaller banks may indicate how hard it is now for major banks to balance the demands of shareholders, customer service, and fees: "TSB and Kiwibank seem better able to manage that. Being 'local' possibly works in their favour as well."
Bank charges, fees and interest were considered "excessive or high" by more than one-third of the consumers interviewed. In terms of churn, one in five (20%) said they were "somewhat likely or very likely" to switch banks (although this figure remains unchanged from 2003). Only 27% of customers surveyed said their banks delivered "superior value". TSB's customers turned out most likely to be loyal with almost 80% saying they were "very unlikely" to switch banks (against the survey's average of 35%).
The survey results and analysis can be viewed via the The University of Auckland Business School web site - click here.