US Insights

Big banks rising

Joe Hagan

Former Senior Vice President

Economy 08.02.2015 / 20:10


Latest TNS Retail Banking Monitor shows Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo benefiting from happier consumers

Consumers are in a happier mood these days, and this is reflected in a variety of metrics. Confidence in the US economy and in personal finances is stronger, and personal assets and debts are both growing.

On cue, customer satisfaction and brand favorability scores for most banks are also higher, according to the TNS Retail Banking Monitor for Q2 2015. Consumers even seem more attentive to banks nowadays. Familiarity with many bank brands has increased, and recall is generally up for all forms of communication about banks - advertising, word-of-mouth, and press reports.

Key Numbers

  • 83% of consumers would choose a big bank if they had to switch

Big banks advantaged 

For the past 12 quarters, consumers have been reporting increasingly strong preferences for larger banks over smaller banks. When asked where they would move if they had to switch, 83% of consumers now name one of the top 25 banks. Among the highlights of our survey research on the biggest brands:

Bank of America

  • Bank of America's share of primary bank relationships is now rising. Early data suggests stronger new customer acquisition in 2015.
  • Bank of America is gaining control of the conversation. Advertising recall is up, while recall of press reports about the bank has declined in each of the past three quarters.
  • The Bank of America brand is strengthening. Favorability has been rising for the past six quarters at a faster pace than peer brands. Familiarity has increased over the past year. And consumer preferences have been rising for almost two years. Relative to other bank brands, though, Bank of America is still regarded relatively poorly.
  • Customer satisfaction continues a gradual improvement that began in 2012. Bank of America still lags its peers and industry averages.


  • Chase' market share continues to rise, extending an impressive three-year run. Some data, though, suggests this momentum may be slowing.
  • Customer satisfaction has plateaued. Chase' customer experience has been a competitive advantage for the past three years, though Wells Fargo has almost caught up and Bank of America is slowly closing the gap, also.
  • Already the most-preferred bank in the US, Chase' brand continues to strengthen as both familiarity and favorability move higher.
  • Chase had the highest ad recall of any US bank in Q2, and in three of the four prior quarters.

Wells Fargo

  • Customer satisfaction has been rising for the past three years. In the past two quarters, Wells Fargo has trailed Chase by only one percentage point; one year ago, the gap was 6 points.
  • The Wells Fargo brand is gaining strength as favorability has been rising more quickly than most bank brands. Wells Fargo remains less well-regarded than Chase, though the gap has narrowed over the past year.
  • Consumer preferences for Wells Fargo are strong, and supportive of improved new customer acquisition.
  • Recall of press reports about Wells Fargo was up in Q2 and was perceived as overwhelmingly negative.

Source: Kantar TNS

Editor's Notes

Data presented here is drawn from TNS' Retail Banking Monitor, a market intelligence program for retail banks that surveys nearly 30,000 US households annually. The program, which supports analyses of customized footprints and market segments, covers competitive momentum, customer experience, brand health and imagery, and communications effectiveness. Journalists, for inquiries, contact us. Follow us @Kantar and sign up for our alerts.

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