Did you hear?...Small business satisfaction with banks declines

The 2010 U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study reveals that, of any banking customer, small businesses have the lowest satisfaction levels with their bank. SNEWS has the summary and insights.
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According to the 2010 U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, overall satisfaction by small business banking customers with their banks has dropped from 718 points out of 1,000 to 711. The study found that, of any banking customer, small businesses have the lowest satisfaction levels with their bank.

Banking customer loyalty among businesses continues to decline as well, with the study revealing only 19 percent of customers surveyed in 2010 saying they would “definitely” look to their existing bank for additional business products. That is well down from 34 percent who responded in a like manner in 2008.

This news comes on the heels of our Oct. 22, 2010, story, “Banks increase lending, but also heighten loan requirements” (click here to read) that indicates the business loan environment at banks is beginning to loosen up again.

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Not surprisingly, the J.D. Power study revealed that businesses that feel they have a partnership or deeper relationship with their bank were the most satisfied. The assignment of account managers who understand the small business customers they are dealing with, and are also proactive and regular with communication, go a long way in ensuring a feeling of partnership and satisfaction. Having easy and convenient access to the bank through branch and online channels is also important.

One very important criteria, and one banks fell on their faces, according to the study, were banking mistakes. According to the study, the number of problems experienced by small business banking customers is more than 1.5 times higher than those experienced by other banking customers. Banking problems for small businesses in turn have been the impetus behind a 110-point drop in satisfaction.

The 2010 U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study generated 6,600 responses from financial decision-makers at small businesses with sales volume from $100,000 to $10 million. The study was fielded between July and August 2010. The study measured small business customer satisfaction with the overall banking experience by examining eight factors: product offerings, account manager, facility, account information, problem resolution, credit services, fees, and account activities.

Click here to view the full news release from J.D. Power.

In related news, a recent Harris Poll looking at statements by spokespeople, and gauging the believability of the pitch, found that U.S. consumers find statements from accounting firms the most believable of all. Of course, the percent is quite sobering -- only 5 percent. Banks garnered a paltry 4 percent who believe their pitches. Investment firms, credit card companies, health insurance companies and investment companies only managed 2 percent who believe them.

--Michael Hodgson

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