Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Small firms not thrilled with big banks - J.D. Power

By Catherine Clifford, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Small business owners are less than pleased with their relationships with their banks, especially big banks, according to a study from consumer satisfaction research firm, J.D. Power and Associates.

Main Street businesses' overall satisfaction with and loyalty to their banks is declining, according to the U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study released Thursday. Satisfaction is now at 711 on a 1,000-point scale, down from 718 in 2009. What's more, small businesses are the least satisfied of the financial services customers J.D. Power surveyed.

Small business owners are more optimistic these days, but banks don't seem to be keeping up with their expectations, Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power, said in a statement.

Small business owners value having an account manager who understands their business well, communicates often, and is easily accessible at both the bank itself and online.

They also want to know in advance about possible fees. "While customers don't expect to receive services for free, they become aggravated when blindsided by unexpected charges or by fees that aren't appropriate to their situation," said Beird.

Perhaps that's why small busineses now are more willing to jump ship: 19% of small business customers said they "definitely will" go back to their bank, down from 34% in 2008.

While larger firms can gain access to capital through multiple channels, including selling bonds, small businesses are very dependent on their bank as a source of capital.

"Banks are a critical support mechanism for small businesses, so these customers may be experiencing some frustration with the lack of support," he said.

The banks that fared worst in J.D. Power's rankings are the nation's three biggest: Chase, of financial services giant JP Morgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500); Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500); and Citibank of financial services behemoth Citigroup (C, Fortune 500).

Meanwhile, smaller regional banks swept the top spots: Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank (STI, Fortune 500) tops the list; followed by Huntington National Bank, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland-based KeyCorp (KEY, Fortune 500); BB&T (BBT, Fortune 500) of Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Regions Bank in Birmingham, Ala.

J.D. Power polled more than 6,600 financial decision-makers at small businesses with revenue between $100,000 to $10 million between July and August 2010.  To top of page

Questions & Answers

QHow does a florist sell more in this economy? We changed our business to designing weddings and events only, as the everyday flowers are not selling. We had to throw out too much product at the end of the week -- flowers are perishable! More
Get Answer
- The Flower Lady, Suwanee, Ga.
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.92%3.92%
15 yr fixed2.99%2.98%
5/1 ARM3.26%3.12%
30 yr refi4.01%3.98%
15 yr refi3.08%3.04%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:


Sumner Redstone, the media mogul who controls Viacom and CBS, is at the center of a legal dispute. One side says he is practically unable to make decisions for himself. The other says he is "engaged and attentive." More

Gold futures hit a low of $1,051.60 an ounce, yet another reminder of just how out of favor gold has become since its all-time high of nearly $1,890 in 2011. More

Watsi crowdfunds donations to cover healthcare costs of those in need. And it's seeing a surprising trend: micro-donations via the popular Chinese social networking app, WeChat. More

Hive, a startup funded by the UN, is tasked with getting more Americans engaged with the refugee crisis. More

Facebook just increased the amount of paid time off new dads working at its international offices can take. More