Business banking satisfaction falls

A new report reveals business customers were less than impressed with the big banks in November, with ratings falling for the first time in six months.


According to the November data from DBM’s Business Financial Services Monitor, satisfaction ratings fell at the Commonwealth Bank and NAB while Westpac and ANZ held steady.


Of the 7,644 business surveyed, 88.7% belong to the micro market with an annual turnover of less than $1 million.


DBM managing director Dhruba Gupta, says the November results go against the consistently upward trend of 2010, citing interest rates as one reason for the fall.


“That fall was concentrated in the micro market, where changes in interest rates are more likely to be felt first and possibly felt more acutely due to the greater concentration of shorter-term, variable rate lending,” Gupta says.


“There is no evidence that CBA’s rate rise had the same impact on small, medium or large business markets.”


The report shows Westpac is now first-placed in all markets, including being the sole leader in the micro and small markets as well as the overall sole leader.


“Westpac’s position is a culmination of consistent gains since the middle of the year. That overall improvement has been largely driven from the micro and particularly the small markets,” Gupta says.


“Westpac seems to have done well in terms of their frontline, what’s happening at the branch [and] what’s happening in relation to their business managers.”


Within the micro market, CBA and NAB both suffered a slide in satisfaction ratings, partially due to negative media coverage earlier and public reactions earlier in the year.


The CBA triggered a storm of public outrage when it lifted its standard variable mortgage rate by 45 basis points on Melbourne Cup Day, almost double the 25 basis-point increase in the cash rate.


NAB came under fire in November for a “technical glitch”, which affected millions of accounts and left people without payments for days.


According to Gupta, ANZ was sitting in first place early in the year, but was sharing last place with NAB by mid-year.


“That decline was due to a loss of its position in the micro market, made worse by weak performance in the other markets, although it has picked up slightly since September due to an improvement in the micro market,” he says.


Gupta says it remains to be seen how the banks will be positioned in 2011.


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