U.S. Retail Banks Nail Transition to Digital during Pandemic, J.D. Power Finds
Satisfaction Surges as Record Number of Customers Shift to Digital-Only Banking
The nation’s retail banks have successfully navigated an historic transformation in which a record 41% of customers are now digital-only and although 24% of customers say they are worse off financially, overall customer satisfaction has increased. According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study,SM released today, retail bank efforts to increase customer communication, introduce customer relief and community support efforts and deliver strong digital banking services have helped them score high marks for customer satisfaction in a very challenging year.
“If you’re looking for a case study in how to improve engagement and deliver a superior customer experience in the face of massive disruption, look no further than the U.S. retail banking industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Paul McAdam, senior director, banking intelligence at J.D. Power. “The fact that satisfaction has improved most among customers who say they feel worse off financially speaks volumes to the proactive efforts many banks launched to support their customers in a period of heightened financial stress. Moreover, banks’ ability to deliver consistently through digital channels has helped reassure branch-centric holdouts and ease the large-scale transition to digital-only banking.”
Following are some key findings of the 2021 study:
- Customer satisfaction improves amid flight to digital: Prior to the pandemic, digital-only customers accounted for just 30% of the retail bank customer base, which routinely had the lowest levels of customer satisfaction of any channel. This year, 41% of customers are digital-only and satisfaction improves most among customers who have high levels of digital engagement with banking products and customer service.
- Banks step up efforts to help financially insecure customers: Nearly one-fourth (24%) of retail bank customers say they are worse off financially than they were last year—up from 14% in the 2020 study—and just half of customers say they are satisfied with their current financial condition. Despite the financial setbacks, overall customer satisfaction with retail banks improves this year, led by a significant 21-point gain (on a 1,000-point scale) in satisfaction among those who feel worse off financially.
- Majority of customers believe their bank supported them during pandemic: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of retail bank customers say their banks completely supported them during the pandemic, which drove an 86% increase in likelihood of reusing that bank; a 60-point increase in Net Promoter Score®1; and a 48% decrease in problems or complaints. Specific bank actions that customers associate with support during the pandemic are waiving charges/fees; supporting the community; offering additional advice/guidance; and providing late payment forgiveness.
- Big banks continue to close gap: Big national banks are on track to surpass regional and midsize banks in overall satisfaction after achieving big gains in customer satisfaction with problem resolution; products and fees; communication and advice; and assisted online service. Midsize banks have historically been the leaders in customer satisfaction, with a 17-point gap in satisfaction vs. big banks as recently as 2018. Today, that gap is just 4 points.
The study measures customer satisfaction with banks in 15 geographic regions. Highest-ranking banks and scores, by region, are as follows:
California: U.S. Bank (818)
Florida: Chase (846)
Illinois: Chase (829)
Lower Midwest Region: BancFirst (871)
Mid-Atlantic Region: Atlantic Union Bank (854)
New England Region: Bangor Savings Bank (861)
North Central Region: Huntington (845)
Northwest Region: Umpqua Bank (830)
New York Tri-State Region: PNC (840)
Pennsylvania: Northwest Bank (834)
South Central Region: Chase (848)
Southeast Region: United Community Bank (884)
Southwest Region: FirstBank (823)
Texas: Frost (861)
Upper Midwest: Associated Bank (823) and Chase (823) in a tie
The U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, now in its 16th year, measures satisfaction in six factors (listed in alphabetical order): account opening; communication and advice; channel activities; convenience; problem resolution; and products and fees. Channel activities include seven subfactors (listed in alphabetical order): ATM; assisted online; branch; call center; IVR; mobile; and website.
The study is based on responses from 94,784 retail banking customers of the largest banks in the United States regarding their experiences with their retail bank. It was fielded from April 2020 through February 2021. Big banks are defined as banks with more than $260 billion in domestic deposits; regional banks are those with $55 billion-$259 billion in domestic deposits; and midsize banks are those with less than $55 billion in domestic deposits.
For more information about the U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/resource/us-retail-banking-satisfaction-study.
About J.D. Power
J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world's leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies.
J.D. Power is headquartered in Troy, Mich., and has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. To learn more about the company’s business offerings, visit JDPower.com/business. The J.D. Power auto shopping tool can be found at JDPower.com.
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1Net Promoter,® Net Promoter System,® Net Promoter Score,® NPS,® and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.