In covering banking for Bankrate, I spend a lot of time thinking about what people don't like from their bank -- excessive fees, poor service, security problems -- but less time on what they do.
An interesting survey out this week commissioned by Ally Bank explored just that question. In honor of Valentine's Day, pollsters asked a random sample of Americans what they loved most in a bank. Here are the results:
- 24 percent loved tight security.
- 22 percent loved 24/7 live customer service.
- 20 percent loved a large network of branches.
- 17 percent loved competitive interest rates.
- 9 percent loved a bank's interest being compounded daily.
- 8 percent couldn't think of anything they loved in a bank.
One thing I would have expected to see on this survey was low fees. I'm not sure whether that just wasn't an option or whether people just don't care about it, but I know it's pretty important to me. If I start getting dinged for excessive fees, I either take it up with my bank and get satisfaction, or I move on. Maybe this will become more important to people as more banks drop free checking accounts, but I'm surprised it flew under the radar on this one.
I was also pretty surprised that security ranked first on the list. Maybe I'm just the trusting sort, but as a consumer, I've never given that much thought to a bank's security. That's not because it's not important to me, but I guess I've just always assumed that most banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. would have pretty good security.
But maybe it's just a function of my demographic; in the Ally survey, only 17 percent of those aged 18 to 34 put security as their number one priority in a bank. On the other hand, a whopping 31 percent of those aged 45 to 54 ranked security first. Some other interesting demographic tidbits:
- Age: Americans 45 and older appreciate security most, while those in the 35 to 44-year-old age bracket identified most with 24/7 live customer service.
- Income: 26 percent of respondents making more than $100,000 per year love competitive interest rates most, while 24/7 live customer service tops the list for those making $35,000 or less per year.
- Household size: Those with three or more people in their house said they loved the 24/7 customer service banking feature best (27 percent), compared to those with two or one (16 and 22 percent, respectively).
So what do you look for in a (banking) partner? Is security the top priority for you, or is it something else?