Big Banks at Risk on “Bank Transfer Day”

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – November 3, 2011 – Big Banks may be vulnerable to losing customers to credit unions on November 5th, Bank Transfer Day, where according to social media, tens of thousands have signed up to drop Big Banks in favor of joining a credit union. While credit unions enjoy best in class customer retention rates (87% Extremely/Very Likely to Continue), the nation’s largest banks fail to engender the same degrees of loyalty from their customers. For example, only two in five of Bank of America’s customers are extremely or very likely to continue (40%), as are less than half of JP Morgan Chase’s customers (46%) and just over half of Wells Fargo/Wachovia’s customers (54%).

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011.

    Customers express their loyalty through their actions, but the underlying motivation for these actions is rooted in the degree to which the bank connects with its customers on both a rational and emotional level; which in turn impacts their future intentions of continuing to use and recommend their bank to others. In the Harris Poll we employed our Simple 7 approach to measuring the strength of a consumers’ relationship with their primary bank. In doing so, we evaluate each bank using seven questions to reflect a customer’s rational vs. emotional connection and future intentions about their banking relationship, says Carol Gstalder, executive vice president of Market and Customer Insights at Harris Interactive.

    The latest results of the Harris Poll Simple 7 on Banking indicate that Credit Unions provide customers with a better overall experience than banks, particularly Big Banks. For example, Credit Union members are three times as likely as customers of Bank of America to experience a trustworthy relationship (74% vs. 25%) and feel valued as a customer (72% vs. 24%), primary drivers of a strong emotional commitment to a relationship.

    Clearly the level of frustration with Big Banks is high and people are leveraging traditional and social media to share their stories. On Facebook, thousands have signed up to leave Big Banks in favor of joining a Credit Union. While the numbers showing support of the page (liking) are not high in comparison with other pages with similar causes, almost 50% of those who like the ‘Bank Transfer Day’ page are forwarding, discussing and chatting on Facebook about the cause (compared with a chat percentage of 32% for the Occupy Wall Street movement). Perhaps some banks are beginning to listen to customer dissatisfaction given this week’s retreat of monthly debit card fees. This level of consumer engagement and resulting action may indicate a groundswell of support for customers to stop being so historically passive when it comes to switching their primary bank.

    So What?

    Let’s face it, there are barriers to switching. It’s a time-consuming and complex task to evaluate alternatives and switch your primary bank. While only one-quarter to one-third of Big Bank customers are experiencing a positive overall relationship, almost half are likely to continue to use the same institutions. Are we at a tipping point? Community and regional banks, along with credit unions, are providing consumers with more information, help, and tools to make informed financial decisions – will these initiatives combat the historical inertia?

    The bottom line: Big Banks will need to make real changes to earn back the trust of their customers. Even more, they’ll need to do it quickly before a regional competitor, community bank, or credit union figures out how to make it simple for customers to switch to partners who provide an exceptional customer experience.

     

    TABLE 1

    LIKELIHOOD TO CONTINUE TO USE

    How likely are you to continue to use [BANK] as your primary bank in the near future?

    Base: Uses a primary bank

     

    Total Banks & credit unions

    Bank of America

    JP Morgan Chase

    Wells Fargo/ Wachovia

    Credit Unions (All)

    Banks excluding credit unions

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    EXTREMELY/VERY LIKELY (NET)

    62

    40

    46

    54

    87

    58

    Extremely likely

    37

    14

    26

    24

    61

    34

    Very likely

    25

    25

    20

    30

    26

    24

    Likely

    23

    31

    33

    24

    10

    24

    NOT LIKELY (NET)

    15

    29

    21

    22

    3

    17

    Somewhat likely

    12

    20

    18

    16

    1

    14

    Not at all likely

    3

    9

    3

    6

    2

    4

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 2

    TRUSTWORTHY RELATIONSHIP

    How would you rate [BANK] at ensuring a trustworthy relationship with you?

    Base: Uses a primary bank

     

    Total Banks & credit unions

    Bank of America

    JP Morgan Chase

    Wells Fargo/ Wachovia

    Credit Unions (All)

    Banks excluding credit unions

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    EXCELLENT/VERY GOOD (NET)

    48

    25

    33

    37

    74

    45

    Excellent

    22

    7

    13

    12

    33

    20

    Very good

    27

    18

    21

    26

    41

    25

    Good

    33

    37

    34

    35

    22

    34

    FAIR/POOR (NET)

    19

    38

    33

    27

    4

    21

    Fair

    14

    26

    25

    19

    4

    16

    Poor

    5

    12

    8

    8

    *

    5

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than 0.5%

     

    TABLE 3

    VALUING YOU AS A CUSTOMER

    How would you rate [BANK] at valuing you as a customer?

    Base: Uses a primary bank

     

    Total Banks & credit unions

    Bank of America

    JP Morgan Chase

    Wells Fargo/ Wachovia

    Credit Unions (All)

    Banks excluding credit unions

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    EXCELLENT/VERY GOOD (NET)

    47

    24

    34

    34

    72

    43

    Excellent

    21

    5

    12

    11

    33

    20

    Very good

    26

    19

    23

    24

    39

    24

    Good

    31

    34

    35

    36

    19

    33

    FAIR/POOR (NET)

    22

    42

    30

    30

    9

    24

    Fair

    17

    28

    25

    20

    9

    18

    Poor

    5

    15

    5

    10

     

    6

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than 0.5%

     

    TABLE 4

    OVERALL SATISFACTION

    How would you rate your overall satisfaction with [BANK]?

    Base: Uses a primary bank

     

    Total Banks & credit unions

    Bank of America

    JP Morgan Chase

    Wells Fargo/ Wachovia

    Credit Unions (All)

    Banks excluding credit unions

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    EXTREMETLY/VERY SATISFIED (NET)

    47

    27

    31

    34

    73

    44

    Extremely satisfied

    19

    6

    12

    13

    28

    18

    Very Satisfied

    28

    21

    19

    21

    45

    26

    Satisfied

    31

    32

    37

    41

    18

    32

    SOMEWHAT/NOT AT ALL SATISFIED (NET)

    22

    41

    32

    24

    10

    24

    Somewhat satisfied

    18

    30

    29

    17

    10

    20

    Not at all satisfied

    4

    10

    2

    7

    4

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; – indicates no response

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 17, 2011 among 2,463 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    Social media analysis was conducted online using both Facebook page-level statistics as well as data from Harris Interactive’s Research Lifestreaming panel. Research Lifestreamers are Harris Poll Online panelists who have given us permission to listen in to their private conversations on their social networks. 50,411 Lifestreamers were observed during the time period of 9/1/2011 – 10/20/2011.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40806

    Q910, 920, 925, 930

    The Harris Poll® #115, November 3, 2011

    By Carol M. Gstalder, EVP, Market and Customer Insights