ANZ on the nose with customers

ANZ'S decision to break ranks with rivals in pushing through out-of-cycle interest rate rises is upsetting customers and hurting its customer satisfaction rankings.

ANZ'S decision to break ranks with rivals in pushing through out-of-cycle interest rate rises is upsetting customers and hurting its customer satisfaction rankings.

The bank's Australian chief executive, Phil Chronican, has pledged to regain its lead and increase its market share.

After being top-ranked in customer satisfaction for more than seven years, ANZ has fallen to third place, after being overtaken by Commonwealth Bank. It risks becoming the laggard among the big four banks.

Figures released by Roy Morgan Research show satisfaction levels with banks fell over the past three months, mostly as customers reacted to a series of out-of-cycle interest rate rises. The latest satisfaction figures are until the end of April, so satisfaction levels are likely to fall again after the banks held back some of this month's 50 basis point cash rate cut.

ANZ has an additional battle, as the latest figures coincide with the retirement of Louis Hawke, the well-regarded products and marketing executive who oversaw the rejuvenation of ANZ's retail brand last decade.

"While Louis may be leaving ANZ, maintaining our lead on customer satisfaction and increasing our share of wallet remain priorities for us," Mr Chronican told staff.

The Roy Morgan figures show how the battle for customers has been turned on its head, with the one time perennial underperformers National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank fighting it out for top spot.

Better known for its aggressive pricing on mortgages, NAB has held its lead among the big four, increasing satisfaction by 0.2 percentage points during April to 77.7 per cent.

Commonwealth Bank overtook ANZ to be second ranked as it also increased satisfaction during April by 0.2 percentage points. This gave it a rating of 77.2 per cent.

ANZ was down 1.9 per cent during April to 75.5 per cent while Westpac fell 0.5 percentage points to 75 per cent, the figures show.

Over the past three months, ANZ satisfaction rankings fell by more than 3 percentage points, more than twice the pace of any other big bank.

"The main reason for the large drop in satisfaction ... was the out-of-cycle home loan increase in February which it initiated and was followed by the other major banks," said Norman Morris, a director with Roy Morgan Research. Over the past year, Commonwealth Bank has been the biggest improver in satisfaction, adding 5.7 per centage points. Westpac is up 1.1 percentage points on the year. Despite slipping recently ANZ is up 0.3 percentage points over the year.

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