Bank customer satisfaction reached its highest level in 18 years during August, rising from 82.1 per cent in July to 82.3 per cent, based on a survey by Roy Morgan Research.
The survey revealed the top performing banks overall in the six months to August were Teachers Mutual Bank, with a satisfaction level of 89.9 per cent; ING Direct at 89.7 per cent; and ME Bank at 88.6 per cent.
Competition among the majors grew closer in August, with CBA maintaining its lead by just 0.3 per cent.
CBA was rated 81 per cent for customer satisfaction in the six months to August 2014, followed by Westpac and NAB at 80.7 per cent and ANZ at 79.7 per cent.
Westpac showed the greatest improvement, with satisfaction up 2.1 per cent, followed by ANZ, which was up 1.5 per cent.
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.
According to Roy Morgan, this bottom 20 per cent of people hold less than one per cent of the total value in the market.
NAB had the highest satisfaction level of the big four among this group with 87.5 per cent.
Satisfaction among high-value bank customers, who own 64 per cent of total financial services value, was well below average for all four major banks.
The best performer among this group was Westpac at 78 per cent, followed by ANZ at 77.8 per cent and CBA at 77.6 per cent.
Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris said 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”.
Mr Morris said the four major banks need to give more attention to the two major groups that have been “left 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 per cent compared to 82.3 per cent for personal customers,” he said.
“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.”