Half of bank customers considering switch

By LEAH GRANOF
December 25, 2006 08:00

Survey finds widespread dissatisfaction; banks say 'it's not so bad.'

2 minute read.



bank teller 88

bank teller 88. (photo credit: )

Fifty percent of customers are considering changing where they do their banking as a result of dissatisfaction with their bank's service, according to a survey conducted at the beginning of the month by SmartMoney, an online exchange company that helps customer research the best deals for their financial needs including loans, mortgages and bank accounts. According to results of the online survey, Bank Hapoalim customers weighed in with the highest level of dissatisfaction with 74 percent of respondents with accounts at the bank indicating that they were considering a change in institutions, followed by Discount Bank with a 72% negative response and Bank Leumi in third place with a 70% dissatisfaction rate. The bank with the lowest dissatisfaction ranking was Bank Yahav, with just 32% of customers indicating they were unhappy. Around 1,000 people responded to the survey, which posed only two questions - at which bank customers held accounts and whether they were considering a move to another bank, said SmartMoney CEO, Gabi Ben-Ami. An earlier survey conducted by the company, which addressed the root of customer dissatisfaction, found bank fees and general day-to-day interaction ranking among the biggest customer complaints, Ben-Ami noted. "Many times we received a response about how banks treat people," he said. "Sometimes they ignore people, don't return calls, are tight on their credit lines or it is impossible to find a parking spot near the bank," he said, describing the general litany of customer complaints. The three banks which received the worst marks refused to comment directly on the survey, saying they were not familiar with the survey's numbers or parameters. Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi noted, however, that their own internal surveys demonstrated far more positive results. "All the surveys that we know of show that Leumi customers are the most satisfied in the whole banking system," said Bank Leumi spokesman, Aviram Cohen. Despite the high rates of dissatisfaction indicated by the survey, Ben Ami pointed out that far fewer customers actually act on their discontent by switching banks. He blamed the lack of competition within the banking industry for the lack of customer action based on their displeasure. Drawing on the experiences of the insurance industry, Ben Ami noted that insurance companies encourage competition by paying third-party companies to create online price comparisons for prospective customers and advertise their services along with their competitors' services. "The average person does not understand how to do a market comparison without conducting a tremendous amount of research," he explained.


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