Relationship marketing could help diminish resentment about banking fees, reports Mintel

August 25, 2010

Chicago (August 26, 2010) – Many consumers continue to be wary of larger banks, citing fees and distrust. Not surprisingly, a recent Mintel report found only 36% of big bank customers trust their bank, compared to 57% of credit union customers. Despite that fact, 48% of those surveyed have their primary checking account at a large national institution.

“Research shows that people really do want a relationship with their banking institution, one based on openness and fairness,”says Susan Menke, VP, behavioral economist at Mintel Comperemedia. “But people are banking at larger banks primarily for two reasons – convenience and rewards. “

One in 10 participants in a recent Mintel survey has switched their primary bank account to a credit union in the past year. Meanwhile, almost 60% of respondents agreed that”trust in a brand is more important than price. ” in addition, consumers described trust in a financial brand in very similar ways to trust in personal relationships, with more than 75% placing”honesty” and”respect” at the top of their list of 12 attributes for both.

There has been a tremendous amount of discussion in the industry about how Reg E will impact the profitability of banks, as they are more constrained in their ability to charge overdraft fees. “Most banks would like to reinstate annual fees on checking accounts and debit cards to make up the difference,” adds Susan Menke. “But banks, particularly the large ones, will be met with substantial resistance from their customers. “

However, Mintel research shows that people would feel less resentful about paying fees if larger banks made a greater effort to do more relationship marketing with their customers.

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