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Satisfaction with banks declines during Finance Royal Commission but remains positive

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia): average 6 month sample n = 26,623
Base: Australian 14+ with at least a deposit/transaction account with bank: average 6 month sample, n = 23,176. 1. Very or fairly satisfied. 2. Very or fairly dissatisfied
New results from Roy Morgan shows that bank customer satisfaction has declined from 81.2% in the six months to January 2018, prior to the Finance Royal Commission, down to 78.9% in the six months to August 2018, which was unchanged from July. The decline of 2.3% points since January has resulted in the lowest satisfaction rating since June 2012 but it remains above the long term average of 74.2% calculated since 2001 and well up on the 58.7% in January 2001. The clear majority are still satisfied with their bank.

These are the latest findings from  Roy Morgan’s ‘Customer Satisfaction-Consumer Banking in Australia August Report’ which is based on in-depth interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 consumers per annum in their homes, including over 4,000 bank customers per month. This large sample of bank customers over many years enables an accurate understanding of long term trends rather than being distracted by what in hindsight can often be seen as relatively short term events.

Dissatisfaction with banks low but indifference remains a threat

A lot of the focus over the last two decades has been on satisfaction with banks which has improved considerably but the level of dissatisfaction and indifference also needs to be monitored closely.

The following chart shows that the level of dissatisfaction with banks is low and has increased only marginally from 4.9% in January, just prior to the Royal Commission and is now at 5.7%. The combination of the 15.4% of bank customers who are indifferent to their relationship with their bank (i.e. neither satisfied or dissatisfied) and those who are dissatisfied (5.7%), means that more than one in five (21.1%) bank customers pose a potential threat to customer retention, an increase from 18.9% in January 2018 but well below the 2001 level of 40.1%.

Trended Bank Customer Satisfaction: 2001 to 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia): average 6 month sample n = 26,623
Base: Australian 14+ with at least a deposit/transaction account with bank: average 6 month sample, n = 23,176. 1. Very or fairly satisfied. 2. Very or fairly dissatisfied

Satisfaction with big four banks declining during Royal Commission

Although satisfaction with banks overall has shown a decline during the Royal Commission, not all banks have moved the same way. Of the ten largest banks shown in the following chart, the two best performers, ING with 88.8% satisfaction and Bendigo Bank (88.4%), did not show declines. ING in fact showed an improvement of 3.6% points since January and Bendigo Bank remained unchanged.

In contrast, satisfaction with NAB was down by 3.9% points over this period, followed by Westpac (down 3.6% points), ANZ (down 2.7% points), Suncorp Bank (down 2.6% points) and the CBA (down 2.5% points). The CBA retains its position of having the highest satisfaction among the big four with 77.6%, followed by the ANZ (75.9%), NAB (75.2%) and Westpac (74.3%).

Consumer Banking Satisfaction - 10 Largest Consumer Banks1

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), 6 months to January 2018, n = 23,845; 6 months to August 2018, n=26,295
Base: Australians 14+. 1. Based on customer numbers. 2. Includes banks not shown

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan says: 

“Given the continuing barrage of negative publicity from the Royal Commission and other issues including out of cycle loan rate increases, it is not surprising that satisfaction with banks has shown a small decline this year. What needs to be noted, however, is that contrary to all the negative reporting on banks, the clear majority of their customers are satisfied with them and that only around 6% claim to be dissatisfied.

“Despite a small decline in bank satisfaction this year that coincides with the Royal Commission and other negative publicity, current levels remain well above the long term average over the period from 2001 and in fact are twenty percentage points above the level in that year. The release of the Royal Commission's interim report now due, is likely to represent a major challenge to retain bank satisfaction levels as it is anticipated that it will recap on a lot of problem areas.

“The data used here is only a small part of the consumer finance data available from Roy Morgan. The full database enables a truly holistic and unique understanding of consumers’ financial behaviour and trends gathered from over one million interviews across two decades.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Suela Qemal, General Manager - Financial Services & Consulting
Office: +61 (3) 9629 6888

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%