Customers happy with mobile banking and digital initiatives are still reporting sliding levels of satisfaction with the big four banks for branch services, mortgages and home loans offerings, according to research from Roy Morgan.
Mortgage customers were the biggest drag on satisfaction levels despite low home-loan rates, and declined by 2.8 per cent over the past 12 months. Statistics at November 2016 showed a decrease in mortgage customer satisfaction at St George, BankWest, Suncorp and the Bank of Queensland, as well as the big four.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) closed the year with the highest overall level of customer satisfaction at 82 per cent, ahead of the total bank median (81.6 per cent), and ahead of National Australia Bank (NAB) at 78.8 per cent, ANZ at 77.5 per cent and Westpac at 76.7 per cent.
Roy Morgan industry communications director, Norman Morris, said while customers generally viewed their bank positively, changes at the grassroots level, including interest rates, should be explained in detail to keep customers satisfied, particularly with regard to home loans.
"Over the last three years, customer satisfaction with banks has plateaued at a level that is well above the long-term average, but it is now showing signs of starting to decline," he said.
"Despite very low loan and deposit rates that favour borrowers, overall bank customer satisfaction is currently being adversely affected by the fact that only 75.4 per cent of the big four banks' home-loan customers are satisfied."
Research showed customers strongly favoured digital banking, with mobile banking a driver of positive satisfaction levels. CBA recorded a 2.2 per cent improvement in satisfaction with mobile customers over 2016, with a 93.8 per cent satisfaction level ahead of ANZ, NAB and Westpac respectively.
"Satisfaction with branches is now further behind that of mobile banking," Morris said.
"Banks need to pay attention on issues such as branch closures and changes to functionality so that they are better aligned with customer needs and expectations.
"The declining satisfaction of the big fours' branch banking customers is not so rosy."