WASHINGTON – For the last two decades, credit unions have scored more "very satisfied" members than banks and thrifts have with their customers. American Banker published the results of the annual survey Oct. 5, which found that 73% of those who primarily use a credit union were "very satisfied" with the service they received. This was up from 63% last year. Banks received a "very satisfied" rating from 58% of those surveyed, up from 54% in 2003, and thrifts scored 59% "very satisfied", up from 55% last year. Credit unions and banks did not make it back up to their 2002 levels, respectively at 76% and 61%, but thrifts edged up one percentage point from their 2002 score of 58%. NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker said he believed last year's drop in numbers across the board was due to general financial industry concerns and long lines in the mortgage refinancing boom. "We're pleased to see that credit unions are stepping back up." he said. "I'm hesitant to predict but I would hope that credit unions would continue the upward trend." Last year was likely just a "blip," he added. "Given the sharp focus and commitment on service to their members, it is not surprising that credit unions have posted such a sharp upturn in consumer satisfaction-perhaps driven by credit unions' determination to correct the recent brief decline in such scores," CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica said. "What is most important, I believe, is that for the 20 consecutive years that this report has been published by American Banker, credit unions have never been anything other than in first place in consumer satisfaction. This dramatic upturn is just icing on the cake of a two-decade record of excellence." The survey also found that 32% of consumers with accounts at a bank and credit union trusted their bank more. Approximately 19% trusted their credit union more, while 46% said they felt the same about either. The percent trusting banks more is down from 38% last year and 40% in 2002, while those feeling the same is growing.

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