Bank Watch

Report card puts Bank of America behind rivals in customer satisfaction –again

A man uses a Bank of America ATM near the company's headquarters in Charlotte in this April 13, 2017, photo.
A man uses a Bank of America ATM near the company's headquarters in Charlotte in this April 13, 2017, photo. AP

Bank of America continues to trail some of its biggest rivals on a widely watched annual scorecard of customer satisfaction.

The Charlotte-based bank made improvements in J.D. Power’s 2017 study, posting higher scores in all 11 U.S. states and regions included in the survey. Despite the strides, Bank of America lagged JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, whose reputation has been stained by a sales scandal.

In a statement, Bank of America said it continues to “strive for exceptional client care to be at the core of what we deliver to our clients every day.” The bank said the J.D. Power report shows it earned the No. 1 rating in “information tailored to meet needs” – “which means we are making banking simpler for our clients, a core part of our strategy.”

“We’re pleased that the J.D. Power report shows that our satisfaction scores are increasing at a rate faster than our peer group average. By our own internal measures, client satisfaction has reached the highest level than at any other point in our history,” the bank said.

In its 12th year, the J.D. Power report measures satisfaction in six areas, including fees, problem resolution and product offerings. The 2017 study is based on responses collected April 2016 to February 2017 from more than 78,000 retail banking customers of 136 of the largest banks in the U.S.

Compared with last year’s survey, Bank of America’s ranking improved in Texas and the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, New England and South Central regions. Its ranking fell in the Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. The bank’s ranking was flat in California, Florida and the North Central U.S.

Wells Fargo also posted higher scores in all 11 states and regions. But its ranking fell in eight places, including its home base of California. That performance follows revelations in September that the bank’s employees for years opened accounts without customers’ permission to meet high-press sales targets.

Wells improved its ranking in the Mid-Atlantic. But its ranking was flat in New England and the North Central U.S.

In a statement, Wells Fargo said it knows it still has “a lot of work to do” to rebuild customer trust in the scandal’s wake. It pointed to steps it’s taken to right itself since the scandal, such as eliminating product sales goals for branch bankers.

The bank also noted that its own surveys of customer satisfaction have recorded improvements. For example, its customer experience scores have improved for five consecutive months.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts