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SMEs unimpressed with banks

SMEs satisfaction with their business banks continues to fall, according to East & Partners’ latest Business Banking Customer Satisfaction Monitor

Australian SMEs overall satisfaction with their business banks is continuing to fall, according to East & Partners’ latest Business Banking Customer Satisfaction Monitor (BBCSM).

While SMEs struggle with the level of service from their banking providers, businesses at the top end have retained significantly higher levels of satisfaction over the past 12 months.

This time last year, SMEs gave their banks an overall satisfaction rating of 5.31, whereby zero equals “very dissatisfied” and ten translates to “very satisfied”.

However, the latest edition of the BBCSM shows satisfaction dropped to 4.6 over June, representing a fall of almost 14 percent.

The overall satisfaction of bigger businesses that turnover $150 million to $500 million annually has fallen by less than 1 percent over the same 12-month period.

East & Partners’ head of market analysis, Robert Morgan, says there is a clear discrepancy between SMEs and their biggest peers.

“Although the banks are trying to get closer to the SME segment, there is obviously room for improvement, especially against the backdrop of the current economic environment,” Morgan says.

“The good news is that all the banks appear to be deploying more relationship managers (RM’s) in the SME segment. RMs are by far SMEs most preferred method of bank interaction, so we would expect to see an improvement in bank satisfaction among SMEs.”

Overall, the market average business banking satisfaction rating for June 2009 was 4.85, a decrease from last month’s score of 4.89.

The fall marks the 10th consecutive monthly decrease in overall satisfaction.

Of the ‘big four’, no bank saw an increase in satisfaction this month, with the Commonwealth Bank taking the biggest hit.

National Australia Bank maintains the top big four satisfaction rating, with a score of 6.56 this month.

Only the highly rated regional banks, as well as St George, increased their overall business banking customer satisfaction this month.

The top rating this month in overall satisfaction went to the regional banks, with a satisfaction score of 6.62.

The BBCSM is based on interviews conducted each month Australia-wide with a structured sample of 850 companies.

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