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Consumer satisfaction with banks equals 20-year high but “very satisfied” needs increased focus

Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking Satisfaction Report, March 2015, average 6-month sample n=25,639; Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014-March 2015, n=24,445

The satisfaction level of personal banking customers in March increased by 0.2% points from February to equal the 20-year high of 82.9% (recorded in January 2015). This represents an increase of 1.1% points over the last 12 months. With such a historically high level of overall satisfaction it is now important to focus on the “very satisfied” segment within this group. The reason for this is that they are more likely to recommend their bank to others (ie, act as advocates) and have a higher “share of wallet” than the “fairly satisfied” group. Currently fewer than two of every five bank customers (37.9%) are “very satisfied” with their bank.

These are the latest findings from Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey of over 50,000 people pa.

Big four compete for top ranking while “other banks” remain well ahead

Competition among the big four banks for top ranking remained close, with the CBA the leader in overall satisfaction on 82.5%. In terms of MFI (main financial institution) customer rankings, Westpac and CBA are equal top at 83.7% each, followed by NAB (83.0%) and ANZ (81.7%).

Despite the improvement in satisfaction by the big four over the last 12 months (up 0.9% points), the other banks have also improved (up 1.8% points) to retain their big lead. The satisfaction level of the other banks is currently 86.6%, up from 79.6% in 2005 (an increase of 7.0% points). Each of the big four showed an improvement in satisfaction over this period, with the biggest increase being the CBA (up 18.6% points).

Consumer banking satisfaction

Source: Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking Satisfaction Report, March 2015, average 6-month sample n=25,639.

“Very Satisfied” customers more likely to recommend their bank

An important reason for having a high level of customer satisfaction is to increase the likelihood of them acting as advocates and recommending their bank to others, and as a result growing the business. The first step to increased advocacy levels is to raise the proportion of customers who are “very satisfied” rather than just “fairly satisfied”. The following chart shows that for each of the big four banks, their “very satisfied” customers have a much greater probability of being “highly likely” to recommend their bank compared to those who were only “fairly satisfied”.

High likelihood of recommending bank* by satisfaction level

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014-March 2015, n=24,445

For customers of the big four banks who are “very satisfied”, around 80% of them are “highly likely” to recommend their bank to others (scoring 8 -10 on a 10-point scale). The best performer was the CBA (82.8%), closely followed by the NAB (82.7%). By contrast, “fairly satisfied” customers of the big four were far less likely to recommend their bank, averaging less than 50%. The best performer was the NAB (50.3 % being highly likely to recommend), followed by CBA (48.6%), Westpac (45.0%) and ANZ (44.4%).

As expected, the dissatisfied customers of each big four bank were very unlikely to recommend their bank, with 9% being the highest (CBA).

The smaller banks lead in the proportion of “very satisfied” customers

The big four banks are well behind the smaller banks when it comes to the proportion of their customers who are “very satisfied” and as a result generally have a lower level of advocacy.

Bank customers who are “very satisfied”

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2014-March 2015, n=24,445

The best performer among the banks measured in this analysis was Teachers Mutual Bank, with two-thirds (66.5%) of their customers being “very satisfied”, followed by Bankmecu (59.8%).

For the big four, only around one-third of their customers are “very satisfied” with their bank. The best is CBA (36.1%), followed by NAB (35.6%).

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

“Since 2001, the banking sector has done a good job in improving customer satisfaction from less than 60% to over 80% currently. From time to time this has been amid negative publicity but from the customers’ perspective things have improved a lot. There has been a concerted effort over this period by banks to focus more on the customer, which has included providing more flexible and convenient ways to deal with banks without having to rely on the more traditional branch focus. An example of this is the high level of internet banking and its satisfaction levels across the big four.

“The challenge now for banks is to turn this positive trend in customer satisfaction into improved levels of loyalty and advocacy. This research has shown that in order to do so, it is vital for them to understand and measure the level of “very satisfied” customers, as this correlates with higher share of wallet and improved advocacy.

“It will also be important for the big four banks to compare their satisfaction levels with the smaller banks, rather than each other, if they are to increase cross-sell and retain customers. The smaller banks continue to be the pacesetters in achieving high levels of “very satisfied” customers and the big four will need to improve on this important metric.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan 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%