Whenever I choose a company to do business with, I do my research. I try to find out to what causes the company supports, how convenient its locations are, and the value I am getting from the company.
The term “value” now has a new definition. If you ask most people, they will probably associate the word value with cost, “How much does this product cost me compared to the competing product.”
Today, value is being linked to the customer experience – How was I treated? Was my business valued? Did the salesperson do everything s/he could to win me over? I might have to pay a little more, but the value of the experience – and how I feel from the experience – outweighs the cost I may save.
Recently, Banker and Tradesman (www.bankerandtradesman.com) came out with a report on customer satisfaction with financial institutions. It was quite interesting. The high points of the article tell us smaller banks and credit unions are leading the way in consumer satisfaction.
The report said all financial institutions – from credit unions to national banks have improved satisfaction rates, but the smaller institutions outpaced larger banks.
It’s worth noting the report also said consumers are becoming savvier – making sure they maintain their bank’s minimum account balance and look for their own bank’s ATM rather than paying a $2-to-$4 “convenience” fee to use the closest ATM they see.
Credit Union members reported even higher satisfaction rates than small bank customers. However, the report says, credit union members were dissatisfied with the lower number of credit union branches and ATMs compared to banks.
Here is some good news the report doesn’t tell us. The Massachusetts Community Banking Council (MCBC) has established “Basic Banking in Massachusetts” (www.basicbanking.org). Many credit unions and banks in the Bay State are program members. Member financial institutions offer accounts with low-or-no fees or minimum balance requirements.
Furthermore, many local banks and credit unions take part in surcharge free ATM networks like SUM (www.sum-atm.com) or Co-Op (www.allco-op.org). Plus, many credit unions are a part of Co-Op Shared Branching, allowing credit union members nationwide access to ATMs and branches of other credit unions.
Tom Hankard is an experienced financial services professional with over ten years’ experience. Tom is the branch manager, loan officer, and mortgage loan originator (NMLS # 958692) at the Winthrop Federal branch of Webster First Federal Credit Union at 15 Woodside Avenue in Winthrop Center. To give Tom feedback, he can be reached directly at 508-671-5116 or email@example.com. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively of the author.