The banking industry remains very unpopular five years after the financial crisis, according to the findings of the annual American Banker/Reputation Institute Survey of Bank Reputations. Most consumers have a better opinion of their own banks than others. On a 100-point scale, banks averaged 56 points in general, but averaged 69 points when respondents were asked about their own banking institutions.
This customer loyalty may be costly, however. Fifty-five percent of consumers said that they paid nothing in monthly banking fees, and another 10 percent estimated three dollars or less. These perceptions do not match up with the real data, as only 30 percent of checking accounts are found to be free, and the average monthly fee is nearly $12.50. Although some customers can avoid a monthly fee with a minimum balance, the average minimum required by large banks is $7,735.31, more than twice what the average American has in his or her checking account.
Research also shows that it is not the customers with the lowest balances who most often overdraw their accounts or use out-of-network ATMs. Just over half of customers with less than $1,000 in the bank said they overdrew their account in the past year, compared to two-thirds of those who maintained between $1,000 and $2,000. While the latter group was also more likely to pay ATM fees, it was less likely to look for a new bank account with lower fees. Industry publication The Financial Brand says that many consumers do not consider ATM and overdraft fees when deciding on a bank, possibly because they are not realistic about their future behavior.