What makes for a satisfied Canadian banking customer? According to The Canadian Retail Banking Customer Satisfaction Study, no-fee banking tops the list. The survey, now in its ninth year, was released this week by JD Power and Associates. In it, customers were asked to rank their level of satisfaction with their lender. The winner? No-fee giant Tangerine was top scorer with 836 out of 1000, with PC Financial in second at 782.

Where does YOUR Bank Rank?

Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Scores
(Based on a 1,000-point scale)
Big 5 Bank Segment
TD Canada Trust 763 5
RBC Royal Bank 752 4
Big 5 Banks Segment Average 749 3
BMO Bank of Montreal 744 3
Scotiabank 738 2
CIBC 735 2
Midsize Bank Segment
Tangerine 836 5
PCF (President’s Choice Financial) 782 4
Manulife Bank 771 3
Midsize Banks Segment Average 766 3
National Bank of Canada 756 3
Laurentian Bank of Canada 734 2
ATB Financial 730 2
HSBC Bank Canada 719 2

Note: Included in the study but not ranked due to small or insufficient sample size is Alterna Bank

Power Circle Ratings Legend

5 – Among the best
4 – Better than most
3 – About average
2 – The rest

*Source JD POWER

Among the “Big 5″ banks, TD Canada Trust was ranked highest with 736 points, for the 9th year in a row.  JD Power says the company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.

The study also examined what features and services led customers to stay with their current financial institutions. Here is the breakdown.

Customers Still Want Face-to-Face Interaction

Despite the word’s digital evolution, the survey found a good portion of satisfaction is still based on personal service, including in-person and contact centre interaction, via phone, email and online chat. Customers reported the need to speak to a real person for their specific questions, and felt online access alone isn’t enough to replace one-on-one communication. This is interesting, as the two top scoring banks are online lenders – goes to show customers can be content with good phone customer service and fewer, higher quality, face-to-face meetings.

Customers Want Convenience

Customer satisfaction was also based on the accessibility of automated banking machines (ABMs), and the ability to access mobile banking quickly and with ease. These services were found to be key to overall satisfaction.  “Effective communication with customers helps drive better understanding and can increase overall satisfaction.” JD Power says in its release.

Core Banking Matters

It all comes down to basics – a full quarter of satisfaction was found to be driven by how customers felt about their chequing accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and loans with their primary bank. Canadians value the convenience of keeping many of their products in one place, and place high importance on their relationship with their financial advisor. As well, according to JD Powers, in addition to a wide array of banking products, customer service interactions and convenience, problem resolution also played a large role in the perception of a bank’s performance.

Exercise Your Right to Comparison Shop

If you’re unsatisfied at your current bank, or maybe happy with some products and not others, this survey can serve as springboard to see which banks are doing a better job of retaining their customers.

And, while this research shows customers tend to keep all their financial products with one primary lender, this practice could be costing you money. Comparison shopping with your financial products can save money by cutting out hidden fees, scoring a lower interest rate, better loan terms, and higher earning interest.

How is Banking Satisfaction Measured?

The Canadian Retail Banking Customer Satisfaction Study was redesigned in 2014 to better capture customer satisfaction within the Canadian market. It continues to measure customer satisfaction with retail banks in three segments: “Big 5″ Banks, Midsize Banks and Credit Unions. In all segments, customer satisfaction is measured in seven factors: products, personal service, self-service, facilities, communication, financial advisor and problem resolution.

“The redesigned study shows what is important to retail banking customers as well as the importance of fully explaining the full range of banking products available to consumers at their primary bank,” said Jim Miller, senior director of the banking practice at J.D. Power.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a financial journalist and personal finance expert with more than 15 years of experience. Her career spans three continents with appearances on TV, radio, print and online. She is the Finance Editor for HOMES Publishing. You can also read her columns in CondoLife and Active Life. Rubina runs the website www.AlwaysSaveMoney.ca. She has also contributed on personal finance matters at The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV Newschannel, Mississauga Life Magazine, Masalamomma.ca, OurKidsMedia, CAA Magazine, South Asian Focus TV, ANOKHI Magazine, Bridal Fantasy Magazine, Canadian Running Magazine, FRESH JUICE magazine and NEWSTALK 1010.

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