Credit Unions Top Banks in Customer Satisfaction

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Americans who belong to credit unions are significantly more satisfied with their experience than those who keep their money with banks, according to findings released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

Satisfaction with banks dropped sharply this year, as customers bemoaned heavy fees. Credit unions, on the other hand, not only ranked highest in satisfaction among financial services, but ranked second-highest of the 43 industries in the index. This is the seventh year credit unions have been included in the index, and they have taken the top spot in financial services satisfaction every one of those years.

“A growing number of consumers are finding that the best way to avoid bank fees may be to avoid banks altogether,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder. “Credit union membership growth broke records in 2014, and their customers are far more satisfied. The structure of credit unions means they can charge lower and fewer fees, but they still manage to provide superior service in nearly every area, from tellers to websites.”

The ACSI findings show that credit union members expect more from their financial institutions than bank customers and are more satisfied with the services and products they get. They also show that credit union members are much more likely to stick with their credit unions than bank customers are to stick with their banks, and that bank customers have twice as many complaints about their financial institution compared to credit union members.      

The ACSI results join a wave of evidence that people prefer credit unions to banks. An October Harris Poll showed that consumers trust credit unions over 50% more than big banks, and while trust in banks is declining, trust in credit unions is holding strong. And the August Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index found credit unions twice as trusted as big banks.

ACSI is the only national cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction in the United States. It measures the satisfaction of U.S. household consumers with the quality of products and services offered by both foreign and domestic firms with significant shares in U.S. markets.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org. 

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