x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Banks in Middle East aren’t keeping the customer satisfied

Research finds that although trust in banks remains high across the region, less than half of respondents believed their lender was fully aware of their banking needs.

Banks in the Middle East are struggling to meet the evolving expectations of their customers, a survey shows.

Research released yesterday by SunGard, a banking software solutions provider, found that although trust in banks remains high across the region, less than half of respondents believed their lender was fully aware of their banking needs.

Of more than 600 bank customers surveyed by SunGard across six Middle East markets, only 45 per cent of respondents said they believed their bank understood their needs well, even though 75 per cent of respondents said they trusted their financial institution.

The trend was most pronounced in Jordan, where only 32 per cent of respondents said banks understood their needs well.

The figure stood at 40 per cent for customers in this country. Only in Saudi Arabia was the figure higher than 50 per cent.

The survey found that although 40 per cent of respondents in the region claimed to have little or no financial knowledge, customers were more likely to turn to family members for financial advice than their bank.

Some 95 per cent of respondents regularly visit their local bank branch, indicating the customers are only gradually becoming comfortable with other channels of interaction such as online and mobile banking.

When asked to specify where they would like to see improvements from their bank, 42 per cent of respondents highlighted mobile banking services, while 49 per cent highlighted online banking services. It also found 51 per cent of respondents do not use mobile banking services.

“It is clear that banks must invest in enhancing their multi-channel propositions to empower staff to serve customers more effectively and drive greater revenue from existing relationships and prospective customers,” said Wissam Khoury, the SunGard Financial Systems’ managing director for the Middle East.

SunGard surveyed 612 people in Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for its research.

jeverington@thenational.ae