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Customers get more satisfaction, with NAB and CBA rated best

18 Dec 2012 THE AGE - ERIC JOHNSTON


THE big four banks managed to slightly improve their customer satisfaction rankings last month, although ratings are expected to come under pressure again after a decision by most to hold back some of the December cash rate cut.

Latest figures from Roy Morgan Research show the banking sector as a whole was again winning over customers after satisfaction rankings took a negative turn earlier this year because of mortgage rate pricing.

The November figures do not take into account the latest round of rate cuts where all the majors held back some of the Reserve Bank's 0.25 percentage-point cut.

Even so, they show first-placed NAB and second-ranked Commonwealth Bank, which for years lagged in customer satisfaction, have turned the tables on rivals.

NAB remains on top with a rating of 80.5 per cent, but the bank gained just 0.1 percentage point in November. CBA added 0.4 percentage points to come in at 79.5 per cent.

Westpac was third at 77.1 per cent (up 0.3 percentage points) while ANZ had the biggest lift for the month, with 0.6 percentage points, but still lags at 75.7 per cent.

After being top-ranked in customer satisfaction for more than seven years, ANZ became the laggard among the big four last May. The drop coincided with ANZ going it alone in setting interest rates.

ANZ, which reviews interest rates every second Friday of the month, last week said it would pass on 0.2 percentage points. This put it in line with rivals.

On an annual basis, ANZ is the only bank to have gone backwards. Its ratings are down 1.9 percentage points on the year, compared with Westpac's increase of 0.8 percentage points. CBA is up 2.6 points while NAB gained the most ground, up 3.2 points.