A credit union, any credit union, tops the nation's big banks in meeting the needs and expectations of consumers, according to a leading think firm.
Respondents put "a credit union" atop the list for the third year in a row in Forrester Research's annual Customer Experience Index , which included 12 banks and the generic credit union entry in its list.
The survey is based on responses from more than 4,600 U.S. consumers in late 2009 about their interactions with a variety of companies. They were asked to rank their dealings in three categories: "Meets Needs", "Easy to Work With" and "Enjoyable." The results were then melded into an overall score.
Only credit unions ranked "excellent". Three banks finished with a "good" rating, led by SunTrust. "Very poor" ratings went to Bank of America and Washington Mutual.
Financial institutions ranked seventh among the 14 different industries represented in the 14 studied and rankings for several fell sharply this year, apparently because of turmoil in the industry.
"The mergers and acquisitions activity in the banking industry has clearly hurt customer relationships, so banks should refocus their attention on customer experience in 2010," said report author Bruce Temkin.