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Big banks sweep top 5 spots in satisfaction with financial advice, says J.D. Power

Staff Writer |
As routine branch transactions decline, financial advice is becoming a key battleground in which big banks are outpacing regional banks.

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Satisfaction with advice is highest with Bank of America, while PNC, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Chase round out the top five.

Among the six largest banks, only U.S. Bank finished below average, according to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Retail Banking Advice Study.

More than three-fourths (78%) of U.S. retail bank customers say they are interested in receiving financial advice or guidance from their bank. Nearly six of 10 customers (58%) say their preferred means of receiving advice is digital content delivered through a bank website or mobile app.

The study, now in its second year, measures retail banking customer satisfaction with retail bank-provided advice and account-opening processes of six big U.S. banks and 17 regional banks.

Customer satisfaction with retail bank advice rises, driven by big banks: Overall customer satisfaction with the advice provided by a primary retail bank increases by 15 points to 819 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2019 from last year.

The increase is driven by big banks, which see an 18-point gain, compared with a 6-point gain among regional banks. Satisfaction with advice at big banks now stands at 826 compared to 800 at regional banks.

Big banks not only lead in satisfaction with digitally delivered advice (e.g., website, mobile app and email), but also with face-to-face advice.

Digital advice in focus: A majority of bank customers (58%) say they would like to receive financial advice digitally.

Accordingly, advice delivered digitally (via website or mobile app) had the largest satisfaction point gain over the past year (+21 points) and the improvement was most profound among consumers under 40 years old (+30 points).

Investment-related advice resonates most: Among the most common types of advice retail bank customers seek are investment-related advice (41%); quick tips to help improve their financial situation (39%); retirement-related advice (38%); advice to help keep track of spending and household budgets (33%); and saving for a large purchase (27%).

Advice satisfaction directly linked to trust, retention and advocacy: Overall, 58% of customers who have received advice say they have acted on it.

Among retail bank customers who are highly satisfied with the advice provided by their institution, (overall advice satisfaction score of 850 or higher), 86% say they "definitely will" reuse their bank for another product; 86% are identified as Net Promoters®[1]; and 44% say they have opened a new account based on the advice received.

Transparency is critical in new account opening, a common venue for delivering advice: When new accounts are opened, transparency about customer benefits and fees is critical.

Overall satisfaction with the account opening process increases 161 points when benefits and features are explained completely and 144 points when fees are clearly explained.


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