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Credit unions continue to set the financial industry standard for customer satisfaction, according to an annual survey by American Banker and Gallup Organization, Inc. In a year when satisfaction among financial consumers is at nearly an all-time low, credit union members alone actually are more satisfied than they were in 1996:

• Overall, only 58% of financial consumers reported they were "very satisfied" with their principal institution. Customer satisfaction has been so low only twice in the survey�s 14-year history.

• "Very satisfied" credit union members rose from 69% to 73%--making credit unions the only type of financial institution that improved customer satisfaction in 1997.

• Banks inched to a new low in satisfaction, with only 53%. Satisfaction among nonbank users (those who use finance, insurance, or mortgage companies as their primary financial institution) dropped five points, to 52%. And, as in 1996, 61% of thrift customers were "very satisfied."

• Credit unions also excelled in improving relationships with customers: 36% of credit union members said they had a "better feeling about their relationships" this year than last. One-quarter of thrift and nonbank customers reported this improvement, as did only 20% of bank customers.

Credit unions have ranked first in customer satisfaction each year since 1984, when American Banker began surveying "consumer attitudes toward banking and financial services."

Source: American Banker, Dec. 22, 1997

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