The election season has passed, and we’re all rightly worn out by inconclusive result.
That said, here’s some news on an ‘election’ with results you can bank on. (Sorry, we never tire of terrible puns.)
In the first annual People’s Choice awards for Australia’s Best Bank, 23,000 banking customers cast their votes online for their most preferred financial institution. The voting was conducted by Mozo, an online finance comparison and reviews service.
The winner? ING Direct. Yet even this vote was a close call. Finishing right behind were two relatively new comers, RaboDirect and UBank.
All three earned customer raves for quality pricing, customer service and trust, according to Mozo.
Challengers and mutuals dominate
ME Bank earned fourth place overall while Bendigo took fifth. Mutuals rounded out the top ten, with Victoria Teachers Credit Union winning the vote for Best Credit Union and the Greater taking out Best Building Society.
On the other hand, the Big Four banks – NAB, Commonwealth, Westpac and ANZ – were rated amongst the ten worst financial institutions in the country. Faring even worse were U.S. giants GE Money, American Express and Citibank. All were criticised for heavy-handed fees, uncompetitive interest rates and poor customer service.
With more than 23,000 Australians rating and reviewing their financial institution at the Mozo website over the last 12 months, the group claims that it constitutes “the largest financial conversation in the country.”
Customers rated their financial institutions on six criteria: overall satisfaction, price, features, customer service, convenience and trust. The results were aggregated to provide a comprehensive report card on the Australian banking industry.
Rohan Gamble, Mozo’s managing director, said the results show that it’s time for big banks to take notice.
“The challenger banks and mutuals are delivering competition and winning customers with competitive pricing, great customer service and a customer first focus that engenders trust,” he said.
Lessons for the establishment
This turn towards greater transparency may be gaining momentum. As Anthill recently reported, another customer survey produced by Retail Finance Intelligence (RFI), ranking financial institutions using similar criteria, showed a stronger preference for regional and online banks. There too, the Big Four didn’t do so hot.
UBank, voted third best overall on Mozo’s list, is owned and licensed under NAB, one of the giants excoriated by consumers. However, UBank chiefly operates independent of NAB in its financial and customer services.
Mr. Gamble said the purpose of the ratings and reviews was “to create a groundswell of consumers helping each other to make the most of their money and avoid getting ripped off.”
- ING Direct, the overall Best Bank, also won the top spot for Best Banking Account, while the honour for Best Savings Account went to UBank.
- Bendigo earned the most raves in three ‘Best’ categories: Credit Cards, Personal Loans and Term Deposits. The Big Four had their strongest showing in the Term Deposits ranking, taking three of the top five spots.
- In the Best Home Loans field, ME Bank edged out Greater to claim first place.
“It’s no coincidence that the institutions voted as Australia’s best credit, savings and loans providers are the ones with the best overall value products,” said Mr. Gamble, who thinks Australians are turning away from “the headline-grabbing honeymoon rates that often hide high fees and revert back to less competitive offers after just a few months.”
He added, “Our Awards are showing that Australians are getting savvy towards the banks’ sneaky tricks and are not as lazy with their money as some commentators suggest.”
View the full results at http://mozo.com.au/peopleschoice.
Image by Rama