J.D. Power and Associates Reports: In-Person Transaction Experience Drives Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking

TD Canada Trust Ranks Highest in Canadian Retail Banking Customer Satisfaction

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 17 October 2006 �Although online banking is by far the most widely used and preferred method among Canadians to complete banking transactions, in-person branch experiences are more critical in terms of forming lasting impressions of their financial institution, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Canadian Retail Banking Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study examines customer satisfaction with the overall banking experience, including customer service, product offerings, fees, statements and banking channel details. Results show that transactional experiences drive satisfaction with retail banking, accounting for nearly 50 percent of overall satisfaction.

The study finds that 77 percent of Canadians use online banking capabilities. For nearly one-half of retail banking customers, this service is considered �extremely important� and is the preferred banking channel for 60 percent of Canadians. On average, banking customers visit their bank�s Web site 14 times per month to complete routine banking transactions, such as viewing account statements and balances.

�Online banking is convenient, but an excellent online offering cannot replace a positive in-branch experience,� said Charles Schade, senior director of research at J.D. Power and Associates. �Customers continue to rely on face-to-face contact to build a trusting relationship. That personal interaction cannot be duplicated online or anywhere else but at the bank branch.�

Based on responses from 12,053 Canadian retail banking customers, the study includes all the largest financial institutions�banks and credit unions�in Canada. Across the industry, overall banking satisfaction is determined based on six factors. They are (in order of importance): transaction methods; account set-up and product offerings; facility; account statements; fees; and problem resolution.

Among the Big 5 Canadian banks, TD Canada Trust ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction. TD Canada Trust has industry-leading scores among the Big 5 banks in Canada for most transactional touch points, as well as broader drivers of customer satisfaction such as facility and account statements. TD Canada Trust is followed in the rankings by Scotiabank and RBC Royal Bank, respectively.

The study also finds that, on average, 13 percent of transactions take place within the bank. When customers visit their bank branch, a positive experience is driven by personal attention from the teller, efficient service and access to the senior-level staff. In general, credit unions give their customers more care and attention than banks, establishing business procedures that ensure their customers are not waiting in line for more than five minutes, and that transactions are completed with efficiency.

�In this era of convenience-oriented services, the appeal of extended operating hours cannot be underestimated,� said Schade. �Although it�s difficult for large institutions to compete with smaller institutions and credit unions�which often have more flexibility to respond to customer needs�banks have the ability to capitalize on their overwhelming presence in the marketplace by providing a welcoming environment and extended hours of service, focusing on providing the type of service that customers are unable to receive online.�

Convenience channels are diminishing the need to visit branches to conduct routine banking transactions. In fact, nearly one-third of customers do all of their banking outside of the brick-and-mortar facility. While convenience has become a requirement among retail banking customers, financial institutions run the risk of becoming distanced from their customers and, more importantly, losing out on the opportunities that face-to-face contact provides�the chance to impress customers and show appreciation for their business.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm�s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. www.jdpower.com