The Smaller the Bank, the Happier the Customer, Study Finds

We like to go where everybody knows our name.

As it turns out, Americans feel the same way about banks as certain TV characters do about their neighborhood bar — sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Customers are overwhelmingly more satisfied with banking at smaller community banks and credit unions compared to those banking with the top 50 global banks, according to the 2018 FIS Performance Against Customer Expectations annual report.

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FIS, a global leader in financial services technology, surveyed U.S. consumers to find out how well U.S. banking providers are meeting the expectations of customers.

Overall, 82 percent of U.S. bank customers are “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their primary banking providers. Credit union members are the most satisfied with 60 percent saying they’re extremely satisfied, compared to the much less satisfied customers from top 50 global banks. Only 22 percent of those customers say they’re extremely satisfied.

Find Out: 10 Best National Banks of 2018

Although big-bank customers report that they aren’t fond of incurred banking fees, their sentiments have yet to hit a tipping point where they jump ship in favor of the personal service offered by smaller local banks.

However, that potential shift to smaller community banking might not be too far off. The digital banking lead once held by the top 50 global banks continues to narrow as banks of every size offer digital platforms to customers.

Read: What’s the Difference Between Banks and Credit Unions?

Banks now face the daunting challenge of meeting their customers’ expectations to always be accessible, to be a trusted system, to provide a human touch and to help them gain control of their finances, among many other key qualities. In the coming years, only the banks that distinguish themselves as customer-focused, nimble and adaptable will be poised to grow.

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