Australian home loan customers remained more satisfied with the biggest banks than they were before the pandemic.
The latest Roy Morgan study showed that during the six months to August, the overall home loan customer satisfaction with the top 12 biggest banks was at 77.9%.
While this was slightly lower than the rating of 78.4% during the same period last year, the satisfaction level was significantly higher than the 74.8% recorded before the pandemic started taking its toll.
Bank's support amid the pandemic
Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said the elevated satisfaction among mortgage holders towards their banks reflects the importance of the support programs these financial institutions have rolled out amid the pandemic.
Ms Levine said the strong economic recovery from the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic last year has allowed loan payments to be resumed on 450,000 loans that had been deferred. By early 2021, 95% of these home loans had resumed loan payments.
"This time around fewer than 20,000 home loans had been deferred by mid-August by which time over half of Australia’s population in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra were in lockdown," she said.
"The re-opening plans for all three cities have been outlined in recent weeks and all three lockdowns are due to end at some point in October."
Ms Levine said when Australia achieves its vaccination targets of 70% to 80%, it is likely that there will be a rapid economic recovery in the last few months of the year to the first few months of 2022.
"The expectation is built on the high savings rates forced on people in lockdown unable to spend their money on normal day-to-day activities or travel with both international and domestic borders closed," she said.
Recent data from Australian Banking Association (ABA) that covers deferrals lodged up to 5 September, revealed that outstanding deferrals across Australia have grown to more than 27,000.
ABA CEO Anna Bligh said despite deferrals being concentrated in lockdown-stricken states, it’s important that borrowers don’t try and tough it out.
"As lockdowns continue to be extended across cities and states, it is no surprise more strain is being put on people and businesses, but it is important to remember that banks are here to help," Ms Bligh said.
ING leads the pack
ING has the most satisfied customers, with its rating rising to 91.3% from 88.7% last year.
However, the biggest change was recorded by BankSA, whose satisfaction rating shot up from 76.3% last year to 87.3%.
The top five banks all reported improvements in their satisfaction ratings.
Among the four major banks, CBA had the highest satisfaction rating at 78.8%. However, this was slightly down from the 79.1% last year.
Interestingly, ANZ was the only major bank to report an improvement in customer satisfaction levels, from 72.8% to 74.7%.
Meanwhile, ME Bank registered the biggest drop in satisfaction rating. From being the third best, it now ranks 8th as its satisfaction level declined from 87.2% to 77.4%.
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