In an article entitled “No Loyalty: Bank Customers May Snap If Slapped With More Fees,” The Financial Brand reviews the findings of the most recent Bankrate Financial Security Index. While many banks have recently raised fees on deposit accounts, or plan to in 2011, the survey finds that 64 percent of bank customers “would consider switching” if their banks added new fees to existing accounts. As an additional caution to those banks, Bankrate finds that those most likely to move their accounts are higher income customers.
According to The Financial Brand: “Bankrate’s study also found that Americans are increasingly uneasy about their debt levels. One in five Americans say they are less comfortable with their debt load now than they were 12 months ago.”
Consumer attitudes and sensitivities are changing. Particularly where their banks are concerned, they are less willing to tolerate unhappy customer experiences. Banks should exercise caution if they attempt to restore income via new fees borne by the retail accounts; a misstep could cause significant long term damage to the firm’s reputation and its relationships with consumers.