Consumers again are more satisfied with credit unions than banks when it comes to online banking, and overall they trust them more, according to an annual research report.
Credit unions as a category scored 84 on a scale of 100 in the Online Financial Services Study, compared with 82 for community banks and large banks alike, according to the research by ForeSee Results of Ann Arbor, Mich., sponsored by Forbes Media.
The firm uses the American Customer Satisfaction Index originated at the University of Michigan to analyze more than 45 million survey responses and identify improvements to websites and other online initiatives for a number of industries. Credit union members comprised 11% of banking institution respondents, ForeSee Results said.
"As has been the case in every year of this study (since 2003), credit unions provide their customers with the most satisfying experience, beating out all the other categories of bank types," the report said. "Not surprisingly, the general conservative approach to banking that credit unions use in their business model also produced the highest trust score at 87."
The study also found that satisfaction with online banking remained high despite the financial crisis of 2009 and that improving convenience and simplicity of online banking provides the greatest return on investment.
"When it comes to customers satisfaction, big banks, with relatively unlimited resources, are faring worse than smaller institutions with fewer resources," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.
"While the big companies try to outdo each other with lots of flashy bells and whistles, the small banks have had to keep their focus on satisfying the customer because that's the only way they can compete. And as the data shows, it's paid off," he said.