Tired of ATM fees, overdraft penalties, charges for checking account maintenance, among other service expenses, customers are tilting more toward credit unions over commercial banks, the most recent report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, overseen in Puerto Rico by Anderson Research International, concluded.
The migration “indicates that consumers are looking for better interest rates and seek to stretch the cash deposited, and seek promotions or special financial products and services,” said Edwin Aquino, president of ARI in Puerto Rico.
For the study, ARI surveyed 1,815 men and women aged 18-70 years from all socioeconomic levels, with active accounts in some financial services company on the island. The information was gathered from April to June. The sum of the two segments — traditional banking and credit unions — represent $71.7 billion in assets in Puerto Rico, noting the importance of measuring this industry, he said.
The report used a standard scale of 0-100 points. The first part of the model measured customer expectations, perceived quality and perceived value. The second part measured customer loyalty, retention and price tolerance level with an algorithm called PLS, or Partial Least Square.
When participants were asked if their financial institution met or exceeded their expectations, banks scored 75.8 points, while credit unions scored 85.2 points. In terms of perceived quality, as a latent variable, the banking sector earned 79.7 points against 85.0 points for cooperatives. Finally, with respect to perceived value, resulted banks obtained 71.5 points vs. 79.7 points for cooperatives.
In the area of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, credit unions scored 78.4 points versus 69.6 points for banks. The difference of 8.8 points confirms part of the growth of Puerto Rico’s cooperative segment, which in 2013 had $8.3 billion in total liabilities and capital and ended the second half of 2014 with an increase of 1.1 percent, or $8.4 billion, researchers said.