The 7th Edition ath Power Ideal Banking Study™

With today’s banking customers being exposed to a wide variety of ways to bank, save, and pay, they have high expectations for service from their banks and credit unions. Consequently, financial institutions must respond to – and increasing be proactive about – competitive pressures both from within and outside of the banking industry if they wish to provide an ideal banking experience for their customers and members.

This study examines factors that are important to today’s banking customers when they evaluate their existing institution, or considering switching to another financial services provider. Examples of key customer satisfaction influencers include the changing branch environment, including changing roles of branch-based employees, as well the desire for digital banking options for many transactions, while maintaining the ability to interact and more deeply engage with knowledgeable bankers and subject matter experts when they wish to. These, and other factors that help create an ideal banking experience are examined in this study.

Purpose of The ath Power Ideal Banking Study™

The ath power Ideal Banking Study is a one-of-a-kind, detailed assessment developed to identify which elements make up the “ideal banking experience” for consumers, and to uncover the impediments of producing such an experience. In this, our seventh study, retail banking consumers from across North America responded to ath Power’s online survey, and through this evaluation, assessed their primary financial institution in such areas as customer satisfaction drivers, desired banking features, interest in newer technologies across channels, satisfaction with, and likelihood to recommend, their primary institution, as well as the importance of employee product knowledge and having an advisory relationship. Also provided in the study is an analysis of the changing branch environment at institutions of all sizes, the types of branch layouts desired, and satisfaction with bank performance factors and overall customer service. The study offers actionable insight into ways to leverage existing strengths while identifying areas of opportunity for improvements.

ath Power designed this study to help financial institutions within the marketplace:

  • Reveal and rank banking customer interests and intents in both product and services;
  • Define specific features and processes that directly affect customer satisfaction;
  • Identify industry trends in such areas as branch deployment, branch reconfiguration, and the use of digital channels by banking customers;
  • Learn ways to increase operational efficiencies while boosting customer engagement and satisfaction through the use of such business models as universal banker and omnichannel banking;
  • Identify differences in customer satisfaction between national and regional banks, community banks, and credit unions;
  • Discover the features desired by today’s customers that contribute to an ideal banking experience and increase their likelihood to recommend an institution;
  • Gain strategic insight into what attributes consumers want when choosing a primary bank.


During first half of 2017, ath Power conducted a survey of 2,700 retail banking customers and analyzed the responses to more than 103 questions which were designed to identify factors that determined satisfaction with their banking experience, to uncover impediments to producing such an experience, and to define loyalty, as described by today’s banking consumer. This report offers insight into the current consumer banking market and reveals the most important elements in banking relationships today. It also offers actionable insight on how financial institutions can take advantage of their current market differentiation, as well as identify additional areas of focus to consider.

General Survey Content

Retail Banking Customers were asked specific questions that ultimately determined the following:

  • Customer priorities for evaluating a primary bank
  • Identification and ratings of primary bank
  • Customer banking behaviors
  • Customer satisfaction with primary bank
  • Problem resolution efforts with primary bank
  • Primary reasons for loyalty and attrition

Institutions Surveyed

A total of 334 U.S. and Canadian banks and 326 credit unions received completed evaluations for this seventh edition of The ath Power Ideal Banking Study. The three largest U.S. banks (Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo) had the most customer participation. Every U.S. bank in the top 50 in assets had survey responses for this study. Specific charts in this study are classified into 5 categories when describing a question or dynamic. They are listed as Top-4 U.S. Banks, Other Top-25 Banks, Regional Banks, Community Banks, and Credit Unions. Only banks and credit unions with 20+ completed evaluations were included in individual rankings.

ideal-graph-imageath Power Custom Research

If you are interested in obtaining a customized competitive analysis for your own institution, please contact Kevin Nixon via email at or call  +1.978.474.6464 Ext. 138.