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Classified in: Covid-19 virus
Subjects: Survey, Economic News/Analysis

USAA Bank Raises the Bar Among Financial Services, While Credit Unions Bounce Back After 5-Year Slide, ACSI Data Show

Americans are feeling much more confident about financial services these days.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Finance Study 2023-2024, all four industries measured ? banks, credit unions, financial advisors, and online investment ? experience upticks in satisfaction. Banks (up 3%) and financial advisors (up 1%) lead the way with scores of 80 on the ACSI's 100-point scale. Online investments (up 1%) and credit unions are narrowly behind at 79 apiece. Credit unions, fueled by strong improvements in value perceptions and better customer experience ratings for ATMs, call centers, and interest rates, end a five-year slide with a 5% surge year over year.

"Customer service is now a major differentiator for banking consumers," says Forrest Morgeson, Associate Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the ACSI. "While banks and credit unions have improved their customer service via digital channels like websites and mobile apps, consumers still appreciate the personal touch. The banking industry earns its top mark for staff courtesy and helpfulness thanks in part to smaller regional and community banks, which net an unprecedented score of 92 in this area."

USAA earns top marks for banks

Among banks, regional and community institutions remain the standard, climbing 3% to an ACSI score of 82. National banks are next, up 4% to 80, followed by super regional banks, which improve 1% to 77.

USAA Bank, available to military-affiliated individuals and families only, leads all banks with an ACSI score of 87, setting the bar for website satisfaction and mobile reliability.

Bank of America and Chase each climb 5% to earn a share of second place at 81, as customers praise these institutions for their locations and numbers of branches. These banking behemoths aren't resting on their laurels, doubling down on brick-and-mortar branches to rebuild personal relationships that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic ? and to establish new ones. Over the next three years, Chase plans to open 500 new branches and renovate some 1,700 locations. Bank of America intends to expand to nine new markets and four states in the coming years.

Citibank (up 1%) joins four super regional banks with ACSI scores of 79: PNC Bank (up 1%), Regions Bank (up 4%), TD Bank (up 4%), and U.S. Bank (up 3%).

After leading all super regional banks last year, Capital One is the only bank to experience a dip in satisfaction, sliding 4% to an ACSI score of 78. Newcomer Barclays Bank, with no physical U.S. branches, shows some pitfalls of online-only banking, posting both the lowest satisfaction score (67) and the highest incidence of complaints.

Fidelity leads crowded online investment field

Fidelity maintains first place with a stable ACSI score of 80, but moderate gains across the remaining companies tighten the online investment field in 2024. Just 4 points separate the top and bottom performers.

Charles Schwab (up 1%) and Morgan Stanley's E*Trade (up 3%) finish second at 79 apiece. Despite improving 3% year over year, Merrill Edge (Bank of America) sits in last place with an ACSI score of 76.

For online investment firms, scores for website and mobile app performance are key indicators for success as ongoing market presence may be determined by further technological advances.

The group of smaller financial advisors outperforms competitors

Financial advisors improve overall customer satisfaction for a third straight year while posting their highest score since 2018.

The group of smaller advisors, up 5% to 83, leads the field and performs well across much of the customer experience. This reflects an ability to provide a more personal and satisfying relationship. Charles Schwab (up 3%) and UBS (up 8%) make big gains compared to 2022, sharing the top spot among named companies with ACSI scores of 82.

Last year's leader Fidelity slips 2% to 79, while Merrill (Bank of America) drops 1% to 77. LPL Financial remains in last place with a steady score of 74.

The ACSI Finance Study 2023-2024 is based on interviews with 17,115 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between October 2022 and December 2023.

Follow the ACSI on LinkedIn and Twitter at @theACSI.

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the data and information in this release without the express prior written consent of ACSI LLC.

About the ACSI

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) has been a national economic indicator for over 25 years. It measures and analyzes customer satisfaction with about 400 companies in about 40 industries and 10 economic sectors, including various services of federal and local government agencies. Reported on a scale of 0 to 100, scores are based on data from interviews with roughly 200,000 customers annually. For more information, visit www.theacsi.org.

ACSI and its logo are Registered Marks of American Customer Satisfaction Index LLC.

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