While customer satisfaction with credit unions has dipped they still fare better overall than big banks.
According to a recent report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction with credit unions has dropped down 5% to 80, which puts them in line with smaller banks. In addition, customer satisfaction with checking, savings and personal loans rose slightly, up 1.3% to 76.
The report, which covers customer satisfaction with banks, credit unions, health insurance, life insurance and property and casualty insurance, also found that rapid growth, higher fees and reduced customer service contributed to the lower credit union satisfaction rating.
"For credit unions, service has deteriorated and fees have gone up. The difficulty of managing rapid growth is partly to blame, as regulators have allowed credit unions to expand offerings to include more mortgage and investment banking activity. Losses by several individual credit unions, plus financial difficulties for many of the corporate credit unions that supply vital services to the smaller credit unions, have taken a toll," said Claes Fornell, Donald C. Cook Professor of Business Administration at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. "Nevertheless, credit unions-offering significantly higher levels of customer satisfaction for a fairly wide range of services-remain a viable alternative to large banks."
Among the big banks, Wells Fargo stood out with 73, followed by Citigroup, up 2% to 69, and Bank of America, up 2% to 68. JPMorgan Chase rounded out the industry, down 2% to 67 and showing a decline for the fourth straight year.
According to Fornell, although bank fees have risen, consumers seem to be taking the increased costs in stride by finding ways to avoid them. He pointed to online banking, better monitoring of minimum balances and careful use of ATMs as customer strategies.