The most common reason for switching banks was a change in life circumstances, although fees and rates, unmet expectations and poor service were top choices too, a new study showed.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Retail Bank New Account Study, 8.7% of customers in 2011 indicated they switched their primary banking institution during the past year to a new provider. In comparison, just 7.7% said the same in 2010. On average, customers in 2011 say they considered 1.9 banks while shopping–up from an average of 1.6 banks in 2010.
The study, which did not include credit union data, showed for customers evaluating and ultimately selecting a new bank, the most important factors driving their decision are advertising, branch convenience, products and services, promotional offers, and direct and indirect customer experience (including past personal interactions, recommendations and bank reputation.)
Meanwhile, pricing, fees and interest rates carried relatively little weight in influencing customer purchase decisions, the study found.
One of the study’s most unexpected findings is that less than one-half (43%) of customers who purchased an additional banking product made that purchase at their primary bank. For customers who turn to another institution for an additional product, promotional offers such as gift cards carry the most weight in influencing the purchase decision.