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Financial Advice From a Bank? Customers Who Take It Love It

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What You Need to Know

  • While few customers get advice from their bank, those who do report a dramatic increase in satisfaction, J.D. Power finds.
  • The top-ranked bank for satisfaction with retail banking advice is Bank of America.
  • Customers who get advice are likely to take it, and they need it: Only 38% pass a basic financial literacy test.

Few customers look to their retail bank for financial advice, but those who receive advice tend to respond well when it is offered proactively, according to a new survey from J.D. Power.

The survey found that only 19% of respondents were interested in receiving advice or guidance from their bank, and 33% said they were not at all interested in receiving advice or guidance from their bank. 

J.D. Power noted that customers are more likely to receive financial advice/guidance from family members, friends, internet searches or personal finance websites than they are from their primary bank. 

But when customers are proactively offered targeted, personalized financial advice that completely meets their needs, their satisfaction soars, increasing 229 points on a 1,000-point scale. 

Banks manage to achieve this 52% of the time, the survey found, while 69% of customers who receive advice from their banks act on it. 

The top four banks in the study are all national banks. They earned high marks for their diverse advice offerings, the relevancy of advice/guidance and concern for customer needs while providing advice. 

Bank of America ranks highest in customer satisfaction with retail banking advice with a score of 673, compared with the industry average of 631. Citibank ranks second with a score of 640. TD Bank and Chase followed with scores of 629 and 628.

The Opportunity

J.D. Power stressed the importance of the survey findings: Just 49% of retail bank customers are classified as financially healthy, while 11% fall into the overextended category. Another 13% are classified as stressed and 27% as vulnerable.

Only 38% of bank customers pass a basic financial literacy test. 

“There is a huge opportunity for retail banks to forge deeper relationships by helping customers with things like advice on investment and retirement planning, building savings to cover emergencies and techniques to ensure paying bills on time,” Paul McAdam, senior director of banking intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a statement. 

The survey, fielded in March, includes responses of 5,491 retail bank customers in the U.S. who received any advice or guidance from their primary bank regarding relevant products and services or other financial needs in the past 12 months. 

(Photo: Shutterstock)