For a fourth straight year, Bank of America has posted the lowest score among the biggest U.S. banks in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
The report released Tuesday also shows the Charlotte lender continues to be the only large U.S. bank whose customer satisfaction rating remains below prerecession levels.
Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, posted a score of 69, the same as last year. Its score still lags the ratings of the other three large banks that received individual scores in the report: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo.
In a statement, Bank of America spokesman Don Vecchiarello said the report shows the bank is making progress in key areas, such as loyalty. He said the bank’s customer complaint percentage is the lowest since 2004.
But, “we know we still have some work left to do,” he said.
Improving customer experience is a top priority for the bank, which is investing in improvements, he said. He did not provide specifics.
The report does not list specific reasons for the increase or decrease in a bank’s score.
None of the largest banks increased their score this year. The four largest banks again scored lower than smaller ones.
JPMorgan Chase was the only large bank to post a lower score this year. In a statement, JPMorgan spokesman Michael Fusco said the lender is “proud to maintain our top ranking for the third year in a row as we continue to focus on improving our customers’ experience.”
Wells Fargo’s score remained unchanged. Wells spokesman Josh Dunn said in a statement that the bank is pleased with the findings of its internal customer surveys and that the lender is committed to improving the experience of its customers.
The overall score for banks of all sizes fell this year. The index’s managing director, David VanAmburg, attributed the decline to a drop in the rating for smaller banks as they increasingly turn to fees to generate revenue.
For example, he said, smaller banks have been doing away with free checking. At the same time, he said, smaller banks are raising fees, such as those charged to a customer who uses an automated teller machine that is not owned by their bank. According to the report, fees for using out-of-network ATMs hit an all-time high this year.
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based ACSI LLC, a market research firm, produces the index. The index annually ranks 230 companies in 43 industries based on 70,000 interviews. It has tracked the banking industry since 1994.
The banking results were released as part of ACSI’s 2014 finance and insurance report, which is based on interviews with 6,819 customers from July 8 to Sept. 7.
The lower score for Bank of America comes a week after it saw an unrelated rating lowered. Last week, a U.S. banking regulator downgraded the bank from “outstanding” to “satisfactory” on a measure of community lending and investing.
Last week, Bank of America improved its rating on a J.D. Power and Associates survey that measures customer satisfaction with primary-mortgage lenders. The bank rose to No. 2 from No. 11 last year.