NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The reputations of America's biggest banks hit all-time lows a few years ago, sending customers off to smaller institutions, credit unions and online-only experimenting.
Why are those customers headed back to the giants?
Emily Veach, a community and media relations manager at New York City-based CB Insights, a venture capital data services firm, says she is leaving her online bank this year over some basic issues. "I've been an online banking customer since June 2014," Veach says. "I loved the thought of banking with a non-bank, and generally, it's been great."
"But I'm probably going to switch this year because sometimes I need to write a personal check or make an international transfer, and my online bank isn't set up to handle those tasks," she says.
For Scott Marr, president of Melbourne, Fla.-based Fleet Cleaning Service USA, a transportation fleet maintenance service, going with a larger financial institution was all about comfort. "Being from a smaller town and having the option of plenty of hometown community banks, the reason that I went with a large bank is because of having branches everywhere and better technology," he says. "Yes, large banks charge fees on accounts. But isn't it worth the nominal account fee for the added convenience? I certainly think so, and I've worked at a community bank."
Veach and Marr aren't alone.
Fresh data from a widespread study of the U.S. banking industry by Boston-based ath Power Consulting show that customer satisfaction with banks (especially big banks) is on the rise.
The survey shows 46% of U.S. banking consumers are "satisfied overall" with their financial institutions, up from 36% four years ago.