You pay bills online. You help save rainforests by having statements emailed
to you. You make deposits, transfer funds from one account to another,
and even open new accounts without ever speaking to anyone at your bank.
But sometimes you have a question. Or need advice. Or want to execute a
transaction that just cant be handled electronically. Thats when you
need good old-fashioned service.
Although ratings we receive from area banking customers indicate many banks
have apparently lost the human touch, weve also found you can still find
quality service at others. Our Ratings Tables show the results from
our surveys of area CHECKBOOK and Consumer Reports subscribers in which
we asked them to rate banks and credit unions they have used inferior,
adequate, or superior on various aspects of customer service. For each
of these aspects of service, our Ratings Tables report the percent
of customers who rated each institution superior (as opposed to adequate
or inferior). We have reported results for all banks and credit unions
for which we received 10 or more ratings. (For more information on our
customer survey and other research methods, click here.)
At the time of our last full, published article, for knowledge of staff,
for example, Heritage Bank, Timberland Savings Bank, and USAA Federal Savings
Bank were all rated superior by more than 85 percent of their surveyed
customers. On the other hand, Bank of America, Chase, Keybank, U.S. Bank,
Viking Community Bank, and Wells Fargo each received superior ratings
for this aspect of service from fewer than 55 percent of its surveyed customers.
Youll notice that none of the areas largest banks rates tops for service.
The highest rated banks all have 20 or fewer branches. Also, a number of
credit unions got relatively high ratings. But not all small banks and
not all credit unions scored so well.
Even among the areas largest banks, there is substantial bank-to-bank
variation. For example, Wells Fargo was rated superior for overall service
by 56 percent of its surveyed customers, compared to only 34 percent for
Our Ratings Tables also report our count of the number of branches
each bank has in the Puget Sound area, and in which parts of the area the
bank has branches. Keep in mind that locations open and close frequently.
Also be aware that at many credit unions, customers can use shared branches
to make a deposit, make a withdrawal, transfer funds, etc. When we made
our counts of branch locations for each bank, we did not take into account
shared branch arrangements.