What Drives a Customer to Switch Banks?

By Salin Bank on February 6, 2014

The decision to change your familiar bank may not be easy but it’s a decision that in many cases is driven by frustration with service.

A recent J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study found that customers generally do not switch banks unless they are also “pushed” away from their prior relationship. The survey, which garnered feedback from more than 50,000 consumers, measured various aspects of customers’ banking experiences, including account information; channel activities; facility; fees; problem resolution; and product offerings.

According to the study, poor service and high fees were the most likely reasons that customers away moved their banking to another bank, while branch convenience, promotions and recommendations helped attract customers to a new bank.

"While big banks have traditionally had an advantage over smaller banks in terms of convenience of branch locations and technology, their disadvantage was often in the personal service customers desired," said Jim Miller, senior director of banking at J.D. Power and Associates. "Successful banks are not pushing customers out of the branch, but rather providing tools that make it easier to conduct their banking business when and where it is convenient for them.”

The survey offers the following tips for consumers when shopping for a new bank: 

*Make sure to review your current bank's fee structure, as well as those of its competitors, to ensure the services and products you're receiving are those that best meet your needs.

*Think about how you want to conduct business with your bank. If personal service is most important to you, how are you treated when you walk into a branch? If you prefer to deal with your bank remotely, what type of mobile and online tools do they offer? With a little research, you can find banks that offer the best of both worlds.
*Evaluate the products and extra services you receive from your bank - including discounts or rewards programs - to ensure they are ones that meet your needs.

*Consider how often you experience problems with your bank, including how well your bank resolves problems and complaints.

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