Why are Canadians becoming less satisfied with their banks?

JD Power report shows that it may have a lot to do with customers' own situation as financial health suffers inflation and higher interest rates

Why are Canadians becoming less satisfied with their banks?
Steve Randall

There has been a significant decline in satisfaction among Canadian bank customers in recent months.

Compared to the first three months of the year, the newly-released JD Power 2022 Canada Retail Banking Satisfaction Study reveals that the share of respondents who are ‘financially healthy’ dropped from 50% to 38% over the summer.

The situation was most prominent among those aged 40 and above, the poll of more than 14,000 bank customers shows.

In July and August, only 32% of customers said that their bank completely supports them in challenging times. This is the metric that is most impactful on overall satisfaction scores.

Those whose finances are deemed unhealthy are less satisfied with their banks and are twice as likely to have been charged a fee in the last three months compared with those who are financially healthy.

There’s a perceived lack of information on how to navigate the tough times we are going through with higher inflation, rising interest rates, and recession.

Just 20% of respondents said they remember receiving any advice from their bank on how to prepare for inflation or save for a recession. The share who acted on the information was just 6%.

Customers said they want more information on these topics and on how to pay down debt in a recession.

Digital wins

Canada’s banks are delivering on their digital offerings, the report shows.

They are also doing well on accessibility and trust, but complaints handling and helping customers save money and time are still lagging.

Even in these technology-driven times, banks score well for handling matters by phone.

The satisfaction outperformers are RBC Royal Bank, which ranks highest in satisfaction among Big 5 Banks for a third consecutive year, with a score of 629. CIBC (615) ranks second and BMO Bank of Montreal (610) ranks third. 

Tangerine Bank ranks highest among mid-size banks for an 11th consecutive year, with a score of 670. ATB Financial (664) ranks second and Simplii Financial (662) ranks third.