Fifth Third, National City most satisfying banks

Posted April 22, 2010 at 7:54 a.m.

By Becky Yerak |
Chicago-area retail banking customers are most satisfied doing business
with National City and Fifth Third, a J.D. Power survey released
Thursday shows.

Among banks headquartered in the Chicago area,
Itasca-based First Midwest received the highest marks. J.D. Power
annually releases a retail banking satisfaction study that gives
results for the Midwest and other regions. It’s the first time that
they’ve released metro area results.

Based on a 1,000 point scale, National City, formerly a Cleveland-based lender that faltered and has recently been acquired by Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, received a score of 769 in the Chicago area and 767 in the Midwest.
National City, whose name will change to PNC Bank in June, was lauded by J.D. Power for both “outstanding” service at branches, including shorter wait times, and online abilities. It has about 140 Chicago-area branches and ranks fifth in market share here.
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third, which ranks seventh in Chicago-area deposit market share and has about 180 local branches, received a score of 764 in Chicago and 763 in the Midwest. J.D. Power said its strength includes product offerings and said that it’s “proactive” about reaching out to customers.
First Midwest, which ranks 12th in Chicago-area deposit market share and has more than 80 branches locally, had a Chicago score of 778. But J.D. Power noted that score wasn’t statistically valid, since there were fewer than 100 respondents. Still, First Midwest, which has a presence just outside of the Chicago metro area, achieved a score of 783 in the Midwest, surpassing both Fifth Third and National City in the region.
The average Chicago score was 740.
Local market share leader Chase had a score of 742.
Harris, which ranks third in deposit market share, had a Chicago score of 746, though the J.D. Power survey noted that the Canadian-owned bank is much less aggressive about contacting customers about products and services. Also, last year Harris was the top-ranked bank in the Midwest, along with Commerce Bancshares, but in 2010 Harris’ Midwest score fell to below average.
Other banks that had above-average scores in the Chicago area — but that weren’t statistically valid — were U.S. Bank and First American Bank.
Banks with below-average scores in the Chicago area were Citibank, 725, Bank of America, 711, and Charter One, 702.
Banks with below-average scores but that weren’t considered statistically valid were TCF, 688, and MB Financial, 735.
J.D. Power said Chicagoans were slightly happier with their banks than consumers in either Los Angeles or New York.
The good news for banks that want to improve their scores is that consumers are more receptive to the idea of changing their bank. The percentage of customers who say they “definitely will not” switch banks in the next year fell to 34 percent in 2010, compared with 46 percent in the 2007 survey.
The biggest reason for switching banks?
Poor service was cited by 37 percent of customers that changed banks in 2010, while 29 percent blamed higher fees for taking their business elsewhere.
Generally, consumers are more loyal to smaller banks than larger ones; 41 percent of customers at smaller banks say they “definitely will not” switch, compared with 32 percent at bigger banks.
J.D. Power’s 2010 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study is based on responses from nearly 48,000 consumers regarding their experiences with their banking provider. The study was conducted in January and February.



  1. Tim April 22, 2010 at 8:17 a.m.

    My favorite bank is a small one on Cermak Ave in Chicago. It’s Mutual Federal. The service there is great and they treat you like family.

  2. Spike April 22, 2010 at 9:51 a.m.

    National City may get good grades, but PNC is even better – had them as a bank elsewhere, and as soon as they get to Chicago I’m switching to them – Chase can take a big leap.

  3. RamRod April 22, 2010 at 10:01 a.m.

    It’s ridiculous that a bank of any size should find a rating less than perfect. How much does it take to hold on to customer’s deposits and know how to invest them in today’s e-markets. But, no, they aren’t satisfied with anything less than their expectations for margins and profits, without any consideration for the current fiscal climate.
    I take note of the fact that, all of a sudden, you’re being greeted with a smile, hello and what can we do for you today. Anything you ask that doesn’t have anything to do with a reduction in fees, is yours.
    The next issue is credit cards and their contrary interest and fee rates which, again, ignore the current fiscal climate INCLUDING the lowest prime rate in decades.

  4. josie harris April 22, 2010 at 10:53 a.m.

    Have you went to the complaintsboard and
    reviewed the complaints against chase and jpmorgan across the nation. Have you read the lawsuits. Give me a break.

  5. IknowIknowtall April 22, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.

    I can hardly believe Chase scored as high as 742. My original bank went through three acquisitions. Chase was the last, and the only bank I’ve ever had problems with.
    When Chase converted our checking account numbers to Chase’s numbers they did not handle automatic bill payments correctly. (It’s funny how other banks can handle the conversion correctly.) My autopay for a credit card failed, resulting in a penalty fee and interest slapped on my credit card account. When Chase finally straightened it out, a Chase rep called and cheerfully told me Chase would be willing to cover all penalties involved in the messed-up non-payment. Uh, yeah.
    Twice I went to a Chase ATM after hours and there was no money left in the ATM. When I later mentioned it at the bank they basically shrugged and blamed it on their ATM contractor. (Well, then change contractors).
    I got a form letter from Chase last fall saying how valued Chase customers are, and Chase was changing to new, improved accounts. Turns out the only “improvement” to my free, low-balance 55+ account was a $12 a month fee. I finally closed my Chase account.

  6. James J. McKay April 22, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.

    My current checking account was started with a local bank in 1986 and has a check number of over 13000. The account and local bank went through several acquisitions and then became a National City account in 1998. Of all the banks the account has been with, I have been most satisfied by far with National City–no, I don’t work there nor do I have friends and family there. National City calls a couple of times a year to see if I am happy with things–they don’t even ask to sell me something. On at least three occasions, I’ve made mistakes that they have waived surcharges for any ways. For example, I made a mistake ordering checks several years ago and they printed corrected checks anyways at no charge.
    One caveat about this well-written article: the switch to PNC from National CIty is more than a “name change.” Some things have changed–like my affinity Visa benefitting breast cancer causes–is no longer available. That said, I think I will still be happy with PNC, based on a few experiences I have had visiting their branches in Cincinnati.

  7. RegularGuy April 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Interesting. We switched from Fifth Third to National City a couple of years ago – right after Fifth Third violated a federal banking rule on our account.
    I have to say National City – soon to be PNC – is an outstanding organization. Another poster alluded to the customer service phone calls we get to follow up and see if their service met our expectations. I’ve NEVER had another bank treat me that well.

  8. Banderman April 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    “The trouble with you Chicago people is that you think you are the best people down here, whereas you are merely the most numerous”.
    This story goes to press on the very day Obama goes to Wall Street to pontificate about his greatness and fiscal responsibility. Talk about a reality disconnect, this takes the cake.
    – Mark Twain

  9. Nate April 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I have been with National City since my return to Chicago in 2007 and I have been very satisfied with their performance. They are quick and thorough, which is not something I’ve seen at any of my previous banks. I’m glad they got recognition for their quality.

  10. Mean Joe April 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I like Broadway Bank.

  11. RJ April 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I started banking with First Midwest about 3 years ago. They have less than 100 braches around suburban Chicago, and are one of the only great community banks left. I feel like the show “Cheers” when I walk into the branch, “where everyone knows your name.” First Midwest has great customer service and they are more interested in the success of their clients than any other Bank I have dealt with. The top marks are warranted.

  12. Heron April 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    @Spike: National City Bank is actually becoming a part of PNC in June.

  13. J April 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Regular guy–what was the “federal banking rule” that Fifth Third broke?

  14. Garry April 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    The problem with PNC/National City is that they have only one branch on the North Side north of Belmont & only one in the north suburbs [Skokie]
    Very poor location siting as of now.

  15. MM April 22, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Fifth Third is always trouble for us. We have personal and business accounts and it is amazing how inefficient their work is. It takes bankers weeks to renew business credit lines and you literally have to beg them to tell us what the next steps are in the renewal process or they will sit on it without progress. We setup a meeting with banker. He forgot and explained he was only gone for 10 minutes in Starbucks. So we are closing and moving all the funds to different bank.

  16. EM April 27, 2010 at 8:28 a.m.

    It amazes me how many times people complain about banks and their fees. There is one easy trick to avoid EVER getting a fee. Balance your checkbook and adhere to the terms and conditions of the account. It is against the law for a bank to charge a fee without just cause. My suggestion to RamRod would be to first; balance your account with a register, daily. Don’t spend any money that you don’t have. Second, use only bank ATMs that belong to the bank you belong to unless you have an account through your bank the reverses withdrawal fee from non bank owned ATMs. Third, if you put as much time balancing your account as you did complaining about the friendliness of banks, you probably would never pay a fee again! I have had an account with Fifth Third for over ten years and they have NEVER recieved any of my money that came in the form of a fee. Same with the old Bank One, Bank of America and yes, even TCF. Quit holding banks accountalbe for your dissregaurd of what is going on in your account!

  17. catapatric April 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Listen to Mark Twain saying that Chicago people THINK we are the best……we don’t THINK, Mark Twain, we KNOW. So learn to live with it. Don’t even start thinking of being so critical of a people from a certain area until you KNOW what you are talking about. Wonder where MARK TWAIN is from???!!!
    I’d also like to hear what “federal banking rules” Fifth Third Bank broke….accusations should be followed with fact.

  18. Mary April 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I too have banked with Fifth Third Bank for years. I have never had a fee on my account. I also balance my checkbook every month and abide by the parameters of the account. If you need a loan from a bank, apply for one – don’t overdraw your account and expect the bank to cover you for free. I don’t know why people complain about fees from a Bank. Handle your account properly and you wouldn’t have any fees. If you can’t do that, then keep the cash under your mattress and get a money order when you need it.