Amidst discussion about the National Bank brand being dropped, it is interesting to note that since 2003 when the ANZ bought the National Bank, satisfaction levels among National Bank customers are similar to those recorded in 2003 when ANZ bought the National Bank. The chart shows some ‘ups and downs’, but overall the takeover has not negatively impacted National Bank satisfaction levels.
Moreover ANZ customers’ satisfaction levels, which were much lower than National Bank customers in 2003, have improved substantially (up from around 61 percent in 2003 to 74.7 percent now).
With ANZ customer satisfaction now substantially higher than when it first took over National Bank, timing for a brand change—or dropping the National brand—is probably about as good as it can be.
Roy Morgan Research also monitors customer behaviour, and attitudes and demographic profiles. This research shows that the two banks have similar numbers of customers: National has a banking relationship of some kind with 21 percent of New Zealanders aged 14 plus and ANZ has a relationship with 20 percent. However based on dollar value the National Bank market share is higher at around 16 percent, while the ANZ is around 11. This is due to the National Bank’s customer profile: more products and a higher dollar value per customer. National Bank customers are also somewhat more affluent than ANZ customers with higher average incomes, higher levels of tertiary qualifications and higher levels of employment in professional and managerial positions.
It is also important to remember that the banking market in New Zealand is not standing still. Kiwi Bank has increased its position in the market at the expense of other banks. The Roy Morgan State of the Nation shows New Zealanders are changing the way they bank—fewer are visiting branches (52 percent now visit a bank branch in an average four week period, down from 62 percent over a decade ago) and 48 percent are now using the internet to bank. So banks are having to invest heavily in technology platforms to provide the services their customers need and want.
Brand changes are always undertaken with a degree of trepidation as the relationship between brand and customer is complex and generally enduring and is often little understood. Our experience at Roy Morgan Research is that those banks who takeover other strong brands successfully are those who understand their customers and those of their takeover and communicate with them and satisfy their needs and wants better than any other competitor.
- Michele Levine is the chief executive of Roy Morgan research.