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Bank customer satisfaction reaches record high, smaller banks continue to lead the big four

Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking Satisfaction Report, August 2014, average 6-monthly sample for Big Four banks (n=18,296); Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source, March-August 2014; n = 27,048

In August the satisfaction level of the personal customers of banks reached an 18-year record high of 82.3%, up from 82.1% in July, with the smaller banks continuing to lead on satisfaction. The competition among the big four banks for number one ranking became much closer in August, with the CBA holding only a 0.3%-point lead over Westpac and NAB among total personal customers. Among Main Financial Institution (MFI) customers, Westpac gained top position among the big four for the first time since 2003, ahead of CBA and NAB, both in second place. These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of over 50,000 people per annum.

Personal customer satisfaction among the big four banks

In the six months to August 2014, the CBA narrowly maintained its leading position overall among the big four with 81.0% satisfaction, followed by Westpac (80.7%), NAB (80.7%) and ANZ (79.7%). The biggest improver among the major banks over the last month was NAB (up 0.7% points), followed by the ANZ (up 0.5% points), Westpac (up 0.5% points) and the CBA (down 0.5% points).

Over the last month the CBA’s lead over Westpac was reduced from 1.3% points to 0.3% points. In terms of MFI, the CBA in July was 0.2% points ahead of Westpac and in August Westpac now leads the CBA by 1.2% points.

Consumer Banking Satisfaction: Big Four Banks


Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking Satisfaction Report, August 2014, average 6-monthly sample for Big Four banks (n=18,296)

Over the last four months Westpac showed the largest improvement in satisfaction (up 2.1% points), followed by the ANZ (up 1.5% points), the NAB (down 0.5% points) and CBA (down 1.6% points). Westpac’s improvement was a result of their non-home loan customers increasing their satisfaction (up 3.0% points), whereas their home loan customers showed a decline in satisfaction (down 0.8% points). The CBA lost ground among both home loan customers (down 1.4% points) and non-home customers (down 1.6 % points). The ANZ made gains in both home loan and non-home loan segments and the NAB only gained among home lending customers.

Consumer banking satisfaction – top 10 performers

With so much publicity given to the satisfaction ranking among the big four banks it is worth considering their performance in the context of the overall market including the  smaller banks. The following chart shows the satisfaction levels for the ten highest scoring banks. Very little separates the performance of these banks but all are well above the level of the best performer among the big four ( ie the CBA with 81.0% ).

Consumer Banking Satisfaction: Top 10 performing banks*


Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source, March-August 2014; n = 27,048

The top performing banks are Teachers Mutual Bank (89.9%), ING Direct (89.7%) and ME Bank (88.6%).

High-value bank customers not so satisfied

In the six months to August 2014, the highest satisfaction for each of the big four banks was among the lowest quintile group as measured by the total value held in all financial products. This bottom 20% of people holds less than 1% of the total value in the market. The NAB has the highest satisfaction level of the big four among this group with 87.5%.

Bank customer satisfaction by value of financial services*


Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source, March-August 2014; n = 27,048.

The satisfaction level of the top quintile customers, who hold nearly two thirds (64%) of total financial services value, is well below average for all four major banks. The best performer among this group is Westpac (78.0%), closely followed ANZ (77.8%) and CBA (77.6%).

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Competition for top ranking regarding customer satisfaction among the big four banks has intensified over the last six months to the extent that just 1.3% points now separate this group compared to 12.6% points in 2005. This competition is good for customers but shows that it is difficult for the major banks to create and maintain a clear positioning advantage on this important metric.

“The other competitors, including the smaller banks, building societies and credit unions remain well ahead of the big four for customer satisfaction and are seen as outperforming them on a number of important dimensions, particularly in relation to fees and charges, interest rates and treatment of customers.

“Improving customer satisfaction levels are likely to remain a priority for the major banks but more attention needs to be given to the two major groups that have been left well behind and yet provide the greatest potential for growth. The first of these is the two million small business customers who rate satisfaction with banks overall at only 67.5% compared to 82.3% for personal customers. This large difference is likely to be adversely impacting on personal satisfaction levels because of the generally close link between the personal and business banking among small business owners.  

“The other group requiring attention is the top quintile in terms of financial services value because with nearly two thirds of the total value and low satisfaction levels, this is a vulnerable position for banks to be in.

“Improving satisfaction levels for the bottom quintile who hold less than one percent of the total value of personal financial services, while a good social objective, it is not where profit growth will come from.”

View more information on the Australian Consumer Banking Satisfaction Monthly Report

View more information on the Australian Business Banking Satisfaction Report

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For comments or more information please contact:

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5172
Mobile: +61 402 014 474

About Roy Morgan Research Consumer Single Source

Roy Morgan Single Source is based on over 50,000 interviews each year and has been designed and engineered to represent the ideal source model. It provides an integrated understanding of consumers; what they are like, what they consume, what they buy, what they think, what they want, what they watch, read and listen to. The overriding benefit of Roy Morgan Single Source is the strategic insights it offers in the ability to link many aspects. Not only can an organisation’s profitable customers be delineated by what they think, do, watch, but so can non customers. Hence brand positioning, product differentiation, merchandising, efficient media planning, market expansion and line extension opportunities can all be considered in the light of the correct understanding of the marketplace.

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Roy Morgan Business Research covers businesses from every industry, size and locality in Australia. The survey based on over about 12,000 business decision makers per annum covers finance, media, confidence, conditions, outlook and performance.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers..

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate



25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%