Over the past year, FirstBank has been in pursuit of offering personalized services to its Puerto Rico customer base. And in a trio of recent studies, the financial institution received high marks for its new products and customized approach toward its clients, bank officials said Wednesday.
In a RepTrak Pulse Puerto Rico study, FirstBank took first place with regards to market reputation — scoring 78 out of a possible 100 — while another study by Ipsos positioned the financial institution second among local banks in terms of brand recognition, with a 47 percent score.
“While we were caught up in capitalization and regulatory issues, we had a very defined strategy in terms of how we wanted to drive the FirstBank brand into a more prominent place in the market, and we’ve achieved that,” said FirstBank President Aurelio Alemán.
FirstBank also got high marks for customer satisfaction in an Inmark/Gaither International study, which placed the bank in first place among small and mid-sized businesses (scoring 89 out of 100) and small entrepreneurs (scoring 5.3 out of 7), and in second place among individual consumers, scoring 90 out of 100.
“Definitely, our competitive edge is based on personalized service and studies indicate that the consumer perceives it, giving us high marks in that category,” said Antonio Pertiñez, recently appointed senior vice president of marketing and public relations.
The executive, who joined FirstBank less than three months ago, said the financial institution’s reputation is in a “robust position and above the average of the global market.”
Both Pertiñez and Alemán said the personalized service offered by the bank has strengthened the brand’s perception among consumers and created a type of “halo” effect that has favored its growth.
“The strategy designed for the brand has been on track. It, in addition to the communication strategy, includes a business component under which new products and services have been developed that support this link with consumers,” said Alemán.
Over the past year, FirstBank has launched several marketing campaigns to portray its goal of being closer to customers by inserting their names in the bank’s brand, for example, “CarlosBank,” “MaríaBank,” and “JoséBank.”
Meanwhile, Alemán said the marketing efforts have been coupled with the launching of new products and services that “reinforce the bank’s promise to the client,” including online banking; mobile banking and “BFirst,” a product for small and mid-sized businesses, which has had great acceptance in this segment.
Alemán added that FirstBank is in leadership positions in the deposit, auto and mortgage loan segments.
“We’re particularly satisfied because in a challenging and tumultuous economic period in which Puerto Rico lost three banks in 2010, FirstBank has been able to continue its successful course, not only in terms of image but also in terms of business results,” he said.
FirstBank will launch a two-week, $250,000 advertising campaign today to express its gratitude to local consumers for its high marks. The effort will roll right into FirstBank’s Oct. 31 financial results announcement.