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Bank of America last in customer satisfaction survey

Reputation hasn’t risen since crisis

By Todd Wallack
Globe Staff / December 13, 2011
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Bank of America Corp., one of the country’s biggest consumer banks and the largest in Massachusetts, ranked last in a customer satisfaction survey slated to be released today.

Credit unions and smaller banks generally scored better than big banks in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, but even among the biggest retail banks, Bank of America came in last.

“It’s pretty well entrenched at the bottom of the industry,’’ said David VanAmburg, managing director of the index, which surveyed 4,500 customers nationwide. The index is published by ACSI LLC, a market research firm in Ann Arbor, Mich.

VanAmburg said the customer satisfaction scores of most major banks dipped following the financial crisis in 2008, but unlike some others, Bank of America’s reputation has not improved significantly since then.

“It’s just been stuck there,’’ he said.

As a group, credit unions scored highest in the survey, followed by small banks.

Among the four large banks on the survey, Wells Fargo and Citigroup tied for first, followed by JPMorgan Chase, and then Bank of America.

Bank of America spokesman Don Vecchiarello said the company continues to listen to its customers and improve its service.

“We’ve made good progress by introducing new tools, processes, and conducting more training for our associates than ever before,’’ Vecchiarello wrote in an e-mail, “but we have much more to do to continue to provide a superior experience to our customers.’’

The survey comes at a time when major banks, including Bank of America, have been trying to boost customer fees to offset the effects of costly new regulations, the sluggish economy, and ultralow interest rates, all of which have combined to batter profits.

In late September, Bank of America announced plans to charge customers $5 in any month they used their debit card to make purchases.

But the bank, along with some competitors, scuttled planned debit card fees after after a backlash from consumers.

VanAmburg said the survey was conducted last summer, before proposed debit card fees made headlines.

Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @twallack.

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