In an environment of poor money management  and lack of financial literacy, the first point of contact for customers when seeking advice related to financial issues is usually the retail banks. This presents a great opportunity for banks to increase customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, J.D. Power's  U.S. Retail Banking Advice Study  indicates banks are struggling to utilize innovative avenues for providing advice in the wake of disappearing bank branches.
Chase leads the Satisfaction Index rating with 829 points and is regarded as best among the 17 surveyed banks. Regions Bank (823 points), M&T Bank (821 points), and Bank of America (813 points) are considered “better than most”.
The study found that 78 percent of retail bank customers admit they could benefit from financial advice. The top five issues that customers need advice on are better management of personal finances (41 percent), guidance on investments (39 percent), retirement (35 percent), budgeting and household expenses (33 percent), and savings (29 percent).
Despite the high number of customers in need of advice, in the past year, a meager 28 percent reported receiving financial guidance from their bank. Within this, 89 percent were satisfied with the quality of advice. The quality of advice ranks highest for advice provided face-to-face at 58 percent, followed closely by advice provided through bank’s website or mobile app at 45 percent. And customer satisfaction is lowest at 33 percent when advice is provided through email.
“For banks, the key takeaway from this study is that there is a huge opportunity to leverage a combination of in-person and digital interactions to provide advice and guidance that assist customers in their financial journey,” said Paul McAdam, Senior Director of the Banking Practice at J.D. Power. “For customers, these findings shine a light on the valuable role that retail banks can play as a source of trusted financial advice and guidance. Customers should take the opportunity to check out the financial advice and guidance provided by their bank.”