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Satisfaction with big four banks up in December as home loan customers recover

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source : January-December 2011 n = 50,917, January-December 2015 n = 48,722

The satisfaction level of the big four banks’ personal customers in the six months to December 2015 was 80.9%, up 0.5% points from November (80.4%) and back to the October level immediately following the home-loan rate increase. December’s result was due to a 0.6% point rise in the satisfaction level of home-loan customers and an improvement of 0.5% points among other customers. Despite the improved home-loan customer satisfaction, it remains below the level of non- home loan customers (78.8% compared to 81.4%).

These are the latest findings from Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey of 50,000+ people pa.

Satisfaction with CBA, Westpac and ANZ improved

In December, three of the big four banks showed some improvement in satisfaction and are now close to their historically high levels. The CBA showed the biggest improvement, up 0.7% points (to 82.4%) and increased its lead among the big four. The other major improvers were Westpac (up 0.6% points to 80.1%) and ANZ (up 0.5% points to 78.9%).

The NAB showed a small decline of 0.2% points (to 80.2%) and holds on narrowly to second place.

Consumer Banking Satisfaction

Source:  Roy Morgan Research Consumer Banking Satisfaction Report Dec 2015, average six-month sample n=25,600

The big four improved by 0.5% points in total (to 80.9%) and the other banks showed a marginal increase of 0.2% points to remain well ahead on 87.0%.The mutual sector (banks, building societies and credit unions) saw their satisfaction remain unchanged and so retain a very high 91.2% satisfaction.

Home-loan customers show improved satisfaction

The negative effect of the high-profile home-loan rate rise of the big four in October appears to be wearing off, at least in terms of its impact on customer satisfaction. The satisfaction levels of the big fours’ home-loan customers improved by 0.6% points in December, to 78.8%. The NAB showed the biggest increase of 1.3% points (to 78.4%), followed by the ANZ (up 1.0% points to 75.8%), the CBA (up 0.5% points to 80.6%) and Westpac declined by 0.4% points (to 79.5%).

Home Loan Customer Satisfaction

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source: April 2015 - December 2015. Average 6 month: n = 6,953

Despite the increase in home-loan customer satisfaction for the big four banks overall in December, they all still have higher satisfaction among their non-home loan customers.

Improved satisfaction but limited customer movement

Satisfaction with banks has increased from 79.3% in December 2011 to 82.4% in December 2015. This increase is close to historically high levels and well up on the low point of 58.5% in March 2001. With satisfaction at high levels and with little difference between banks, customer gains and losses have been limited over the past four years.

The NAB had the biggest gain in customer penetration of the Australian population 14 + between December 2011 (15.0%) and December 2015 (16.1%). The largest part of this gain was due to 2011’s “break up” campaign, which prompted major customer growth up to 2013.

Personal Customer Penetration* - Top 10 Banks Change 2011** to 2015**

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source : January-December 2011 n = 50,917, January-December 2015 n = 48,722

While the CBA has led the big four in satisfaction for most of the last three years it has only increased customer penetration from 37.5% in 2011 to 37.8% in 2015.

Westpac showed a decline in customer penetration from 18.8% to 17.7% over the period and the ANZ fell from 19.7% to 19.5%. St. George declined from 8.1% to 7.3% but this has been largely compensated for by an increase in the Bank of Melbourne which rose from 0.1% in 2011 to 0.9% in 2015.

Bendigo Bank was the best performer of the remainder of the top ten, going from 5.0% to 5.2%.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research says:

“The home-loan rate increase by the big four banks in October adversely impacted their home-loan customer satisfaction in October and November, but appears to be showing some improvement in December. However, it is likely to take a month or two to return to the pre-increase levels. We have noticed in the past that while home-loan customers are very sensitive to any rate increase, particularly when it is accompanied by high profile adverse publicity, they generally recover after a few months.

“The mutual banks continue to set the pace in customer satisfaction with 92.1%, compared to the big four with 80.9%. In fact they have increased their lead over the last six months. The best performer of these remans Teachers Mutual with 95% satisfaction, (up from 93.6% 12 months ago).

“With bank customer satisfaction at historically high levels and the big four being closer than they’ve been over most of the last 10 years, it is proving difficult to increase customer penetration. One of the reasons the big four don’t appear to be losing customers is that more than half of the smaller banks’ customers remain customers of a big four bank as well.

“Considering that the main reason for aiming for high customer satisfaction and advocacy is to attract as well as retain customers, customer penetration should be considered as a major KPI for banks.

“Roy Morgan Single Source has the most comprehensive consumer financial data available in Australia and is regarded as the industry currency. It covers detailed data on all banks, building societies, credit unions, insurance companies, fund managers and superannuation funds. With over 50,000 interviews conducted annually over 15 years, our database enables in-depth understanding of financial behaviour and trends. Anyone in the financial services industry would benefit from the unique insights that only Roy Morgan finance data can  provide.”                         

For comments or more information please contact:
Suela Qemal, General Manager - Financial Services & Consulting
Office: +61 (3) 9629 6888

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%