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WASHINGTON-For 21 years, consumers have voted credit unions the best in consumer satisfaction, according to American Banker/Gallup surveys. The 2005 American Banker/Gallup Survey found 71% of consumers said they were “very satisfied” with the service they received from their credit unions, American Banker reported. This was down slightly from the 73% credit unions received in last year’s survey. At the same time, banks boosted their ratings to their highest level since 1991 with 63% of respondents saying they were “very satisfied.” In 2004 that number was 58%. The percentage of “very satisfied” thrift customers declined to 58% from 59% in 2004. The article quoted one banker who suggested that the banks increased their score by paying more attention to customers than they have in the past. NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker said that this is a significant point. “It’s interesting that the banks need direction to provide the touch and feel that credit unions obviously provide,” he said. Competition is just one more service credit unions provide consumers, including bank customers, Becker pointed out. Making members happy drives at the heart of credit unions’ mission. “This year and for 21 years running, credit unions have ranked first in consumer satisfaction,” CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica pointed out. “The reason is clear: As not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives, credit unions have a mission that centers directly on service. The American Banker/Gallup poll shows credit unions continue to fulfill their mission, earning their members’ loyalty and trust in the process.” Banks beat out credit unions, thrifts, insurance companies, finance companies and mortgage companies on consumer trust, according to the report. However, the credit unions and mutual funds are creeping up on them; the percentage who said they trust their banks less than their credit unions increased to 27% in 2005 from 19%. Additionally, the respondents who trusted their banks more than mutual fund companies dropped from 39% to 32%.

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