Satisfaction in big four banks' home loans drops

The satisfaction of mortgage customers of the big four banks has dropped, despite overall satisfaction improving over time, a new report has found.

Roy Morgan Research's Single Source survey has shown that home loan customer satisfaction declined by 0.9 per cent between July 2016 and August 2016 to 75.9 per cent, despite overall customer satisfaction remaining unchanged (at 79.7 per cent).

The overall figure held firm due to a marginal increase in satisfaction from the customers of ANZ, CBA, NAB, and Westpac's non-home loan sections, where satisfaction was up by 0.2 per cent to 80.6 per cent.

None of the satisfaction rates from mortgage customers of the big four banks surpassed 80 per cent, unlike those of smaller banks and mutual banks.

ANZ had the highest mortgage customer satisfaction rating of the big four banks, with 78.5 per cent, while NAB was the only bank of the four to show an increase in satisfaction, up 0.2 per cent to 73.2 per cent.

According to Roy Morgan, the drop in customer satisfaction could be due to the fact that the big four banks failed to pass on the full interest rate cut (of 25 basis points) to their customers in August.

“It appears that one of the major negative influences currently affecting customer satisfaction across the big four is that, despite historically low home loan rates, their home loan customers all have lower satisfaction levels than their other customers,” said Norman Morris, industry communications director for Roy Morgan Research.

“A potential reason for lower home loan customer satisfaction is the very high levels of adverse publicity that the big four attract when they don’t pass on the full interest rate reductions announced by the RBA.”

Of the big four banks, the biggest disparity in satisfaction between home loan customers and non-home loan customers was at CBA, where there was a 75.9 per cent satisfaction rate with mortgage holders, compared to 82.5 per cent of non-home loan customers. 

Bendigo Bank leading on home loan customer satisfaction

Roy Morgan also found that of the top 10 banks, Bendigo Bank had the highest rate of home loan customer satisfaction with 96.2 per cent, followed by 93.4 per cent for ING DIRECT.

However, Greater Bank led overall satisfaction polls with a 95.2 per cent rating, followed by Bank Australia with 94.8 per cent and Victorian Teachers Mutual Bank with a rating of 94 per cent.

Mr Morris noted that "despite the continual high-profile negative publicity about banks from the media and politicians, focused primarily on the big four, their customer satisfaction remains at historically very high levels".

He added: "Although there is often some short-term negative movement in satisfaction as customers react to a particular event, it is essential to understand the longer-term trend. Roy Morgan has been measuring bank customer satisfaction for over 20 years, and as a result can say that customers have a generally positive view of the banks they deal with and have shown a strong improving trend over the last 15 years."

The research also found that mobile and internet banking led in satisfaction ratings across the board.

“This trend is a likely contributor to improved overall customer satisfaction,” said Mr Morris. “[I]t appears that bank customers are moving over to online banking and are giving these newer channels generally much higher satisfaction scores than for branches.”

Satisfaction with both mobile and internet banking was led by Bendigo Bank and Suncorp (96 per cent), followed by CBA (93 per cent).

Overall findings suggest that satisfaction with banks has improved marginally, with the satisfaction with banks’ personal customers in the six months to August 2016 sitting at 81.6 per cent, up from 81.5 per cent in July — results of which are “well above the long-term average and is just below the 20-year high (82.9 per cent) that was recorded in 2015”.

[Related: Analysis: Majors under attack over meagre rate cuts]

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Tamikah Bretzke

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