By Daniel Hunter

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are still unhappy with their banks, according to the latest Business Banking Insight (BBI) survey.

On average, businesses across the SME spectrum gave an average satisfaction score of 62%. Medium sized businesses (50-249 employees) were the most satisfied with their bank, reporting a score of 68%. Micro businesses with a maximum of nine employees were the least satisfied, giving a score of 59%.

The BBI survey also found that 85% of SMEs believe customer experience is key to overall satisfaction.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents felt that access to online banking services was very important for their business compared to 52% who said that in-branch interaction was very important to their business and 41% of businesses who said that telephone services were very important to the operation of their business.

The research also found that the larger the organisation, the more likely it was to place high importance on online access to their business current account. This finding was the same for telephone services, with the 58% of mid-sized firms citing that this was ‘very important’, compared to 38% of sole traders.

John Allan, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“The Business Banking Insight (BBI) is the biggest and best survey of its kind in the UK and we are proud to support it. It provides businesses with somewhere to go to compare the full range of different bank and finance providers services based on the views of their own peers. This is therefore an important tool for bringing more competition into the banking market by enabling businesses to make more informed choices about which services are best suited to their needs. “With one in seven (14%) businesses expecting to switch their current account provider in the next six months, we only expect interest in the BBI website from businesses to increase.”
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“With the latest Business Banking Insight (BBI) survey confirming that a large number of businesses are still unhappy with the level of service they receive from their finance provider, it is encouraging that some firms are looking to vote with their feet and switch institution. The BBI website can play a vital role in the switching process, equipping businesses with the tools to compare banking experiences with their peers. This is reinforced by the research also finding that the overwhelming majority of businesses say that customer experience is important when choosing a bank. Despite online being chosen as the most popular method of banking, businesses still value traditional channels of communication, such as in branch and telephone. We believe that BBI provides a unique opportunity to increase transparency, improve competition and help bring about a lasting improvement in standards across the banking sector.”

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