Most major banks are doing that little bit better at projecting a better image of themselves and the quality of their services to customers, at least over the last few months of 2006.

The monthly monitor of customer satisfaction with banks published by Roy Morgan Research shows that the percentage of consumer banking customers who say they are very satisfied or fairly satisfied with their main financial institution increased for each of the four major banks in December and increased for ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac during the December 2006 quarter. There was no change in consumer rankings of National Australia Bank during that quarter.

Over six months and 12 months only CBA shows a consistent gain in customer satisfaction levels.

The Roy Morgan research, however, shows that CBA continues to command the lowest percentage of customers who say they are satisfied with their bank, 66.5% of customers. At ANZ 75.9% of customers say they are satisfied; 71.0% at Westpac and 69.8% at NAB.

Among regional banks the trends are more volatile because of smaller sample sizes. Over 12 months, each of Adelaide Bank, Bank of Queensland, BankWest, Bendigo Bank and Suncorp recorded an increase in customer satisfaction of between two and four percentage points. Regional banks all command customer satisfaction scores greater than those of major banks.

The exception is St George Bank where satisfaction is on a par with ANZ, and where customer satisfaction scores fell over the quarter, half year and year.

Peter Fray

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