According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan, which form part of its survey of approximately 50,000 consumers per year, satisfaction among home loan customers of the big four banks was 71.1 per cent in May, 5.7 per cent lower than the 76.8 per cent rating given by their non-home loan customers.
The majors also fell short of their non-major peers, five of which had higher home loan customer satisfaction ratings.
ING had the highest home loan customer satisfaction with 88.9 per cent, followed by Bendigo Bank (86.2 per cent), Suncorp (81 per cent), Bankwest (80.3 per cent) and St George Bank (78.3 per cent).
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) was the highest rated major bank (72.5 per cent), followed by Westpac (70.7 per cent), NAB (70.4 per cent) and ANZ (69.6 per cent).
Reflecting on the research, Norman Morris, Roy Morgan’s industry communications director, said that the recent wave of mortgage rate cuts off the back of the Reserve Bank’s back-to-back cuts to the cash rate could help improve customer satisfaction.
However, Mr Morris said that the decision from same major banks not to pass on the full cash rate reductions may “negate some of the positive impact that a drop in interest would otherwise have had”.
Mr Morris added: “The real challenge for the big four banks is to improve the satisfaction rating of their home loan customers to be much closer to their smaller competitors, so as to maximise customer retention and growth.
“Improving home loan customer satisfaction among the big four will also have a positive impact on their overall customer satisfaction, which is partly held back by low home loan satisfaction.”
Mr Morris also noted the impact that a low interest rate environment would have on satisfaction among the banks’ savings customers.
“At the same time as the banks are trying to improve the satisfaction of their home loan customers by reducing rates, they will face the problem of declining interest rates for their deposit customers who are likely to become less satisfied,” he said.
“Keeping both groups happy as well as shareholders, in a declining interest rate environment, presents a major challenge for banks.”