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Retail banks struggling to support customers as inflation rises

Retail banks score lower among customers for helping them save money or time

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  • Written by  Banking Exchange staff
Retail banks struggling to support customers as inflation rises

A large proportion of US retail banking customers feel unsupported by their banks, according to new research.

The J.D. Power 2022 US Retail Banking Satisfaction survey found that, overall, customer satisfaction with retail banks climbed 155 points — on a 1,000-point scale — when customers cite that their bank supports them during challenging economic times.

However, only 44% of banks are delivering on the customer satisfaction metric as measured by the survey.

The findings show that banks perform well on traditional customer engagement metrics, such as people, digital channels and overall trust, but that satisfaction scores are lowest for helping retail bank customers save time or money.

The combination of digitalization and surging inflation means US retail banks are facing a number of customer engagement challenges, as consumers experience elevated levels of financial stress.

Senior consultant of banking intelligence at J.D. Power, Jennifer White, said: “A customer’s definition of what support from their retail bank looks like is changing rapidly as we enter a new economic cycle and move further along the digital adoption curve.

“It’s no longer predominately about being fast, efficient or convenient. The preeminent performance metric with the biggest influence on customer satisfaction is ‘supporting customers during challenging times,’ and that means customers are expecting a personalized mix of financial advice, hands-on help with problem resolution and guidance on how to grow their money.”

Now in its 17th year, the study asked customers how they would like their bank to personalize their banking experience, with 46% saying they want help in avoiding fees and 37% who want to receive account alerts.

The study is based on responses from 101,587 retail banking customers of the largest US banks. The highest-ranking bank was Frost in Texas, with a score of 755, followed by Illinois-based Wintrust Community Bank, with a score of 733.

J.D. Power redesigned the survey for 2022, with customer satisfaction measured across seven factors: trust, people, account offerings, allowing customers to bank how and when they want, saving time and money, digital channels and resolving complaints.

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