FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with a focus on “banking for good,” received the highest customer satisfaction ranking in the Southwest Region in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.
The study results were based on nearly 95,000 banking customers, who were asked to rank their bank on six factors: account opening, communication/advice, channel activities (such as ATM, online, mobile, website, etc.), convenience, problem resolution and products/fees.
“Doing what’s best for customers is at the forefront of every decision we make — from staffing our 24/7 contact center with real bankers to growing our mobile banking capabilities,” said Jim Reuter, CEO of FirstBank. “Despite the challenges 2020 presented, our team worked hard — often in difficult conditions — to ensure customers had access to vital resources. We’re honored to see that reflected in the J.D. Power rankings.”
According to the study, 63 percent of respondents said they felt their bank supported them through the hardships of the COVID 19 crisis. FirstBank, in particular, deferred loan payments, waived bank fees and dropped credit card interest rates to zero percent to make an immediate impact for customers at the onset of the pandemic. They also supplied over $1.5 billion in SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans to more than 15,000 businesses, and collaborated with restaurant customers to treat first responders and essential workers to free meals.
Another notable takeaway from the study’s general findings: digital-only customers grew to 41 percent (from 30 percent pre-pandemic), and satisfaction improved most among customers who had the highest levels of digital engagement with banking products and services. According to FirstBank’s own data, customers logged into mobile banking 22 times per month compared to 17 times per month prior to the pandemic. The bank also added 31,500 more mobile banking customers over the past year.
“Our Technology teams created a really high quality, secure digital experience to make banking and budgeting easy,” said Emily Robinson, COO at FirstBank. “Customers can open accounts, send money to friends or family, deposit checks, freeze their credit card and even set financial goals, all from their phone. The fact we saw such large increases in engagement around our mobile and digital products demonstrates to us we’re meeting customers where they need and want to be met.”