TORONTO — For the fourth year in a row, an independent survey of more than 35,000 Canadians has shown that credit unions rank first in overall quality of customer service among all financial institutions.

The 2008 Synovate Customer Service Index found credit unions ranked ahead of all banks and other financial institutions in overall customer service excellence, "values my business," financial planning and advice and branch service excellence. Respondents also said credit unions tied for first in telephone banking excellence and recommending the financial institutions to friends and family.

The survey had more than 35,000 responses among a regionally and demographically representative sample of Canadians. The survey has been conducted annually since 1987, according to Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc.

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