Survey Says: Customers Dumping Big Banks Was All The Rage Last Year

Did you dump your big bank last year? You weren’t alone — a new survey says plenty of your fellow consumers were unhappy with new fees and shoddy customer service, leading them to break up with large financial institutions in favor of smaller banks and credit unions.

Customers fled at a defection rate of between 10% and 11.3% at large, regional and midsized banks, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates. CNNMoney says the survey looked at 5,000 customers who were eyeing a new bank or account in the last year.

Smaller banks and credit unions only saw 0.9% of their customers walk out the door on average, which is a pretty significant difference from the 8.8% rate of customer loss they had in 2010. They also scooped up the business of newly disillusioned, angry customers fleeing from big banks.

The arrival of tithes for checking and other fees at big banks last year turned off about a third of customers who ended up going elsewhere.

“When banks announce the implementation of new fees, public reaction can be quite volatile and result in customers voting with their feet,” said Michael Beird, director of the banking services practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

Bank of America’s decision to charge a monthly fee for using a debit card is one large, glaring example of a whopping mistake. They eventually took back the fee, but the damage was done, spurring consumers to band together and create “Bank Transfer Day.”

More customers leaving big banks [CNNMoney]