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COSTA MESA, Calif.: 1 March 2017 — Retail bank, mortgage and financial services firms have been enjoying a 5-year trend of consistently improving customer satisfaction and loyalty scores, but the perception of excessive sales pressure could erode their customers’ goodwill.  That’s the finding of a new J.D. Power Special Report: Customer Views on Sales Practices in Financial Services,SM released today.

The special report is based on in-depth proprietary benchmark research, insights and analyses of more than 83,000 consumer responses and interviews derived from J.D. Power syndicated studies* and a pulse survey focused on bank sales practices conducted in October 2016. Containing a wide range of data points and analyses that capture the Voice of the Customer in the financial services industry, this special report was developed to identify how customers currently view the banking industry and spotlight areas for improvement in the overall customer experience.

Following are key findings of the special report:

  • Banks Are Enjoying Strong Advocacy and Loyalty: Since the financial crisis, customer satisfaction with financial institutions has reached record highs. The improvement is visible across a variety of metrics that track customer loyalty, bank reputation and repeat usage. Even after widespread news about the Wells Fargo scandal, 82% of retail bank customers say they trust their bank to do the right thing and just 4% do not think their bank acts ethically.
  • Cracks in the Foundation: Among customers who do not feel a strong sense of brand loyalty and advocacy, the biggest challenge to their level of satisfaction today is the use of sales practices they perceive to be overly aggressive.
  • Customers Surprised by New Accounts and Fees: A common consequence of sales pressure in the financial services setting is customer confusion at the point of sale. Nearly 14% of retail bank customers indicate that they have had accounts opened and/or funds transferred without their knowledge, and 12% say they were surprised by fees or charges they do not remember being told about when they opened the account.  Specific sources of confusion and error were credit cards being reissued, bank errors, simple misunderstandings, identity theft, and instances of accounts opened by, or altered by the bank without the customer’s knowledge or permission.
  • Confusion Results in Reduced Loyalty: Nearly half (46%) of customers who were surprised by fees say they definitely will change banks, compared with only 6% who were not surprised.
  • There Is a Way Forward: The majority of financial institutions currently have an opportunity to dramatically improve overall customer satisfaction simply by spending more time understanding their customers’ specific needs and following basic best practices.

“In the wake of the Wells Fargo crisis, financial firms of every type have been taking a hard look at their sales practices and controls. For our part, we really wanted to see this issue through the customer’s eyes,” said Jim Miller, senior director of retail banking services at J.D. Power. “It may be surprising to some, but customers continue to put faith in their banks, as 79% of customers believe their bank acts in their best interest. However, as we continued to dig deeper into the issue, it became clear that an intense sales culture at some banks may indeed be driving short-term growth, but it can erode loyalty and lead to a loss of future revenue. Banks must foster a customer-centered culture where they focus on meeting needs and providing relevant advice rather than just selling the next account.”

For more information about the special report on Customer Views on Sales Practices and Pressure Tactics in Financial Services, visit http://www.jdpower.com/resource/jd-power-special-report-customer-views-on-sales-practices-in-financial-services

* Data and observations in the special report on Customer Views on Sales Practices and Pressure Tactics in Financial Services are derived from the J.D. Power Retail Banking Sales Practice StudySM; the J.D. Power 2016 Financial Advisor Satisfaction StudySM; the J.D. Power Primary Mortgage Satisfaction StudySM; and the J.D. Power U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.SM

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. Those capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe. 

Media Relations Contact

Geno Effler; Costa Mesa, Calif.; 714-621-6224; media.relations@jdpa.com

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Media Contacts:

Geno Effler

Costa Mesa, California

(714) 621-6224

media.relations@jdpa.com