Small Business Owners Growing Less Satisfied with Banking Options

These days, many small business owners likely rely on their banks heavily to accomplish all sorts of goals, but it seems that the services these financial institutions are providing aren’t quite meeting entrepreneurs’ expectations.

The overall contentedness owners across the country have with their options from financial institutions these days is dwindling, albeit slightly, according to the latest U.S. Small Business Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power. In all, the level of satisfaction dropped nine points, but that was on a scale of 1,000. However, that’s not to say that attitudes toward these options were all moving in a negative direction.

For example, there was actually an increase in happiness with the situation related to fees these banks charged to small businesses thanks to a decline in the cost of these levies, the report said. Likewise, the satisfaction with mobile banking options increased markedly – by 27 points – even as just 11 percent of companies say they rely on these options in the course of their daily business; that could indicate a significant increase in the quality of such services in the last year. In fact, 55 percent of those polled said they see their banks as being innovative technologically (though it should be noted that this was down from more than two out of every three owners in the same poll last year).

In fact, a lot of the reason for continued satisfaction in the areas in which owners are generally happy is that what they want is usually pretty simple, the report said. Affordable and relatively easy access to credit is likely something that will be positive for owners going forward.

Where things went wrong
One thing that seemed to have irked small business owners in the past year is that just 40 percent of those polled said they had an assigned account manager change at some point, the report said. That may make owners feel less like they have familiarity and camaraderie with their dedicated banking professionals.

“Small business customers continue to rely on the branch for many of their routine transactions, even though retail consumers are quickly migrating to self-service channels, including online and mobile,” said Jim Miller, senior director of banking at J.D. Power. “Banks are falling short of small business customers’ expectations in both the branch and offering innovative services to make it easier to manage their finances. Financial institutions should focus on tailoring products and services specifically to their small business customers rather than expecting them to make due with those that are designed for retail customers or larger commercial relationships.”

Of the banks with strong reputations, Chase seems to stand out most, the report said. Owners in the Midwest, West and South regions said this was the bank that offered the best variety of products, credit facility and services, fees and channels. Meanwhile, the Northeast region seemed to favor TD bank because of its product offerings, facility, account data and channels overall.

Owners of independent companies who are worried about negative issues related to their banking options may want to consider the ways in which they can shore up their financial situations on their own. For instance, they might be able to save thousands of dollars every year, and devote those funds to other areas, by reducing their expenditures on small business insurance policies. Finding more affordable workers’ compensation coverage or general liability insurance, for example, can be a boon to the bottom lines of many privately-owned enterprises and help to ensure their continued success by facilitating their abilities to grow.