Here are the best and worst banks in South Africa

A new report appears to support growing public sentiment that the country has a clear winner in the banking sector when it comes to customer satisfaction.

According to new findings from the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi), overall satisfaction with South African banks has remained unchanged at 76.3 out of 100.

Capitec, however, has outdistanced its competitors in a number of areas which contribute to overall customer satisfaction, including quality, perceived value, customer loyalty and low levels of complaints with high rates of complaint resolution.

Over 16,500 clients of Capitec, FNB, Nedbank, Absa and Standard Bank were surveyed across the mass and middle income segments, as well as upper income level clients (platinum-level clients) by SAcsi.

Private banking/wealth clients as well as business banking clients were excluded from the findings.

Both Capitec and FNB retained their leadership position for the second year in a row with overall satisfaction scores of 83.8 and 79.8 out of 100 respectively (previously 82.2 and 79.3).

Nedbank scored on par with the industry average at 75.6 out of 100 (previously 74.8), while both Absa and Standard Bank’s scores were below par at 74.3 and 73.0 out of 100 respectively (previously 74.8 and 73.7).

# Bank 2015 Score 2016 Score Change (%)
1 Capitec 82.2 83.8 +1.6 (1.9%)
2 FNB 79.3 79.8 +0.5 (0.6%)
Industry Average 76.3 76.3 No change
3 Nedbank 74.8 75.6 +0.8 (1.1%)
4 Absa 74.8 74.3 -0.5 (-0.7%)
5 Standard Bank 73.7 73.0 -0.7 (-1.0%)

According to Anrè Schreuder, CEO of Consulta and founder of SAcsi, a three year trend indicates that Capitec has shown the greatest improvement in overall customer satisfaction, whereas Absa was unable to sustain the significant improvement it recorded last year.

Standard Bank has shown marginal decline for the last two years. FNB has maintained its satisfaction levels and Nedbank has recorded consistent improvement over a three-year period.

Most banks managed to meet their customers’ expectations of quality, SAcsi said.

Schreuder said that the delivery of high quality products and/or services is not necessarily a differentiator in the long term. “On countless occasions we’ve seen one bank introduce an innovative offering into the market only to have other banks offer something similar within a very short space of time,” he said.

One area identified as a potential differentiator is perceived value, which measures quality received in relation to the price paid. “In this instance we see far bigger gaps between the banks, with Capitec and FNB both industry leaders on this metric, though Capitec’s score surpasses the average by a significant margin of 15.2 points at 89.4 out of 100.

“With the exception of FNB, all other banks are performing below par,” Schreuder said.

Read: South African bank ranked best in the world

Customer loyalty

Customer loyalty is measured by the intention to repurchase and price tolerance. Although overall loyalty has declined slightly, Capitec and FNB customers are notably more price tolerant than the industry average.

“When viewed as a three year trend, customer loyalty is in decline, indicating the fierce competitiveness of the sector,” said Schreuder, adding that banks are increasingly focused on customer-centricity.

The level of customer complaints has declined significantly over the past three years. FNB and Capitec have the least complaints and resolve their complaints better than the other banks, though both Absa and Standard Bank have managed to reduce the complaints levels over the past three years.

Customers’ likelihood to recommend their bank remains largely unchanged since the previous measure, though Capitec customers demonstrate an appetite for additional products, which bodes well for the introduction of new products and services.

The highest score of 57% was recorded by Capitec, up 2% from the 2014 score. Absa showed the lowest NPS score at 15%, which is the same as its previous score. Nedbank showed the greatest improvement in its NPS score, achieving 25% from its previous scores of 19%.

Banking channels

The SAcsi also measured satisfaction with specific retail banking channels.

ATMs are one of the most used channels, but no one particular bank differentiates itself from the rest in this particular area. When it comes to branches, Capitec is again seen as the leader in customer satisfaction, though both Absa and FNB improved their scores this year.

When examining the various digital banking platforms, Nedbank and Standard Bank both showed improvement in the scores for their banking apps this year, with FNB named as the leader in this segment.

FNB continues to lead the internet banking segment, though Capitec and Nedbank are closing the gap with scores on par with the average. Absa and Standard Bank’s scores were below par. Telephonic banking remained static.

While the average score for call centres didn’t change much, satisfaction with Standard Bank’s call centres took a significant fall.

More on banks in SA

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What frustrates us most about banks – and why we switch

South Africa’s best and worst banks list

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