Inverting what you would normally read on this site, J.D. Power and Associates’ latest retail banking satisfaction study warns that while Canada’s banks are world leaders when it comes to keeping mobile customers happy, it shouldn’t be at the expense of other channels.

First, the good news: Released Thursday, the annual survey’s 12th iteration found that not only was adoption of mobile banking apps growing among Canadians, but mobile customer satisfaction was too, with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) highest rated among Canada’s big five banks, and Tangerine Bank highest rated among their midsize competitors.

Overall, J.D. Power found that mobile banking use among Canadians has nearly doubled over the past three years, with 43 per cent of Canadian retail bank customers now using mobile banking. Moreover, the average mobile satisfaction index score was 807 points out of 1000, indicating that mobile devices represented the most satisfying channel measured by the study.

The company warned Canada’s banks not to rest on their laurels however, noting that while the industry has posted steady increases in mobile adoption and mobile customer satisfaction, opinions of every other platform have gone down – and while Canadians enjoy banking on their phones, few do so exclusively, J.D. Power financial services consultant Bob Neuhaus said in a July 13 release.

“The majority of retail bank customers are what we call channel omnivores, meaning they frequent several different touch points with their banks,” Neuhaus said. “Banks need to maintain focus on the traditional foundations of the banking experience, while still working to satisfy the increasing demand for digital channel interactions.”

Mobile love aside, J.D. Power’s survey found that 58 per cent of Canadians had used four or more channels to interact with their banks over the past year – and except for mobile, their satisfaction with each had declined, by an average of one point for websites; 10 points for branches; 11 points for online assistance; 13 points for call centre assistance; and 15 points for automated phone assistance.

The result: Overall retail bank satisfaction declined from 763 out of 1000 in 2016 to 759.

Other insights from the study include:

  • Overall satisfaction scores were 83 points higher among customers who were greeted at the branch entrance and 63 points higher among those whose teller addressed them by name;
  • However, only 60 per cent of customers reported being greeted at the door and only 47 per cent said they were addressed by name;
  • Only 19 per cent of customers were aware of personalized ABM preference settings at their banks, despite such features being associated with high overall satisfaction scores;
  • Banks can reduce their customers’ trust in them when changing agreed-upon terms of financial accounts and products. The introduction of new fees, for example, was associated with a 50-point decrease in overall satisfaction, while changing the amount of existing fees is associated with a 45-point decrease, and changes to interest rates caused overall satisfaction scores to fall by 31 points.

To gauge Canadians’ opinions of their banks, J.D. Power collected responses from more than 13,000 customers across the country between March and April of this year, dividing the results into two segments – big five and midsize – before measuring customer satisfaction based on seven factors: product; self-service; personal service; facilities; communication; financial advisor; and problem resolution.

For the first time, this year’s study also measured customer satisfaction with mobile banking applications by collecting responses from more than 1600 customers throughout Canada between April and May, calculating each bank’s total on a 1000-point scale based on five factors: ease of navigation; appearance; availability of key information; range of services; and clarity of information.

RBC ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction for the second year in a row among Canada’s big five, with a score of 760, closely followed by TD Canada Trust, which received a score of 759.

The midsize banks fared even better, with Tangerine’s score of 820 placing it highest in customer satisfaction for the sixth year in a row, while President’s Choice Financial came in second with a score of 801.

Meanwhile, among banking apps RBC ranked highest in overall satisfaction, with a score of 840, while Scotiabank received a score of 835.

The study’s key rankings are below. The Satisfaction Index Score (SIS) is based on a 1,000-point scale, while the Power Circle rating is based on consumer feedback, with five indicating a bank is “among the best,” four meaning it’s “better than most,” three meaning it’s “about average,” and two placing it among “the rest.”

Big five banksSIS rankingPower Circle rating
RBC Royal Bank7605
TD Canada Trust7595
Big five banks average7553
BMO Bank of Montreal7533
Midsize banksSIS rankingPower Circle rating
President’s Choice Financial8014
Midsize banks average7823
ATB Financial7793
National Bank of Canada7642
Laurentian Bank of Canada7502
HSBC Bank of Canada7452
OverallSIS rankingPower Circle rating
RBC Royal Bank8405
Industry average8353
BMO Bank of Montreal8332
TD Canada Trust8322
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