Look for “Bank Transfer Day” tomorrow to inspire further account shifting but expect spotty coverage by newspapers that run large ads of major banks such as Bank of America, predicts Grumpy Editor.
It comes at a time when “Big Banks” face a huge public relations problem in retaining customers.
Their marketing departments may have to take a promotion page from yesteryear and roll out inducements such as toasters and other small appliances with new account openings.
Bank Transfer Day rises from major banks’ growing fees, spurred by Bank of America’s month-ago announcement to charge a $5 monthly debit card fee --- which it canceled on Tuesday following a national uproar.
Also reversing course a few days prior by scrubbing fees linked to debit cards were other giant banking operations JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., among others.
Those actions, coupled with other treatment (dreadful in some cases), triggered many consumers to transfer accounts to other financial institutions such as community banks and credit unions.
A Harris Poll released yesterday found credit unions enjoy best-in-class customer retention rates while “the nation’s largest banks fail to engender the same degrees of loyalty from their customers.”
“For example, only two in five of Bank of America's customers are extremely or very likely to continue (40 percent), as are less than half of JPMorgan Chase's customers (46 percent) and just over half of Wells Fargo/Wachovia's customers (54 percent),” Harris reported after polling 2,463 adults online between Oct. 10 and 17.
"Customers express their loyalty through their actions, but the underlying motivation for these actions is rooted in the degree to which the bank connects with its customers on both a rational and emotional level, which in turn impacts their future intentions of continuing to use and recommend their bank to others,” Harris pointed out.
Harris added, “Credit union members are three times as likely as customers of Bank of America to experience a trustworthy relationship (74 percent vs. 25 percent) and feel valued as a customer (72 percent vs. 24 percent), primary drivers of a strong emotional commitment to a relationship.”
Meanwhile, Norma Garcia, director of Consumers Union’s financial services program, said Bank of America’s debit card fee “was the last straw for many consumers who are tired of banks that got bailed out that are now turning around and hiking fees.”
She added, “Consumers who are unhappy with new bank fees can vote with their feet and take their money elsewhere. There are many banks and credit unions that are eager to serve consumers fed up with rising fees.”