One in two bank customers here will close their accounts after a bad experience: Survey

A bad experience with a bank here will lead one in two customers to close their accounts with the lender, a survey has shown.

The 2014 global consumer banking survey by consultancy EY - formerly known as Ernst & Young - found that 50 per cent of respondents in Singapore said they had closed their bank accounts in the past 12 months due to their experiences with financial services providers.

That was higher than the average rates in the world and in Asia Pacific, which were both 33 per cent, according to data from the survey released Thursday.

Another major peeve for consumers here is the lack of access to branches and banking services, with 35 per cent citing this as the reason for closing their accounts.

This is despite only 19 per cent of respondents saying they visit bank branches weekly, compared with 55 per cent who use ATMs and 44 per cent who use Internet banking.

The Asean financial services leader for EY, Mr Liew Nam Soon, said: "Customers are demonstrating through their behaviour that if they are not satisfied, they will leave.

"Indeed, over the coming 12 months, 44 per cent of customers in Singapore anticipate opening or closing an account which reflects a pattern of high turnover."

The need for banks to focus on providing differentiated and customised service is something that consumers here consistently want, the survey found.

Its findings said 84 per cent of customers are willing to pay more fees, increase their deposits or open more accounts if banks can provide them with a plan to reach their financial goals.

The survey also showed that one in four customers in Singapore still prefer traditional banks to new banks such as standalone internet banks. This is higher than the global average of 16 per cent and the Asia Pacific average of 5 per cent.

Some 400 consumers here were surveyed for the poll, which was conducted between July and October last year.

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