Survey Finds that US Banks Effectively Communicated with Customers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

New FICO research finds that 84 percent of consumers were satisfied with the level of support their banks provided during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Surveys & Market Data

SAN JOSE, DECEMBER 15, 2020 –

Highlights

  • 42 percent of US consumers had to contact a financial services provider to help manage repayment of existing credit commitments during the pandemic
  • When banks proactively contacted their consumers about their repayment situation, 78 percent said that they were contacted in the way that was most convenient for them
  • Majority of consumers were able to arrange a payment holiday within 2-3 days of the option being announced

Global analytics software provider, FICO, today released new research[1] examining the level of communication and support US consumers received from their financial service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the survey found that US banks received high praise from customers with the vast majority of consumers (84 percent) satisfied with the level of support their banks provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has had a significant financial impact on households across the country. While almost half of consumers in the US remained fully employed during the pandemic, almost a quarter said they were not at all or not very confident about their finances remaining stable in the next three months. In fact, 42 percent of consumers said they had to contact one of their financial services providers to help manage repayment of existing credit commitments since the start of COVID-19.

“2020 has been a challenge for all, with a large percentage of consumers struggling to pay their bills. Banks and financial service providers play a critical role in helping their customers navigate these uncertain times,” said Michael Magaard, vice president, Customer Communication Services at FICO. “It’s critical that lenders are ready to respond quickly to customers across multiple channels, while providing flexible payment options – otherwise they risk losing them.”

Credit card commitments were the primary reason consumers reached out to their financial service providers to help manage repayment, with 48 percent of respondents having had to reach out to their credit card provider. This was followed by mobile phone service at 21 percent and auto loans at 20 percent.

Financial service providers were quick to provide support during this time, with the majority of consumers able to arrange a payment holiday within 2-3 days of the option being announced. Additionally, an overwhelming majority of respondents noted how easy it was to get a hold of their providers to arrange a payment holiday or other arrangement to manage their existing debts, with auto loans (93 percent) and online loans (91 percent) being the easiest, followed by credit cards (88 percent), personal loans (86 percent) and mortgages (84 percent).

Interestingly, while households with the highest incomes of $250,000 USD and above had the highest level of financial service providers proactively reaching out, the level and quality of service remained relatively consistent across all income brackets from $20,000 to $250,000. Additionally, when banks proactively contacted their consumers about their repayment situation, 78 percent of consumers said that the bank did it in the way that was most convenient for them.

Communication method was a key driver for why there was such a high level of satisfaction among consumers with the level of support their banks provided. Fifty-one percent of respondents cited good choice of communication methods as the reason for their satisfaction. 

“By delivering improved customer engagement and communications, financial service providers have helped many customers across the US navigate an unprecedented crisis. At the end of the day, the investment banks made in their customer communications have proven to be invaluable in fostering good-will and customer loyalty,” added Anna Hamilton, vice president, Customer Lifecycle Management at FICO.

[1] The research was conducted on behalf of FICO by Censuswide, between October 6-23, 2020 with 3000 US adults 18 and over.

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About FICO
FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956 and based in Silicon Valley, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 195 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 100 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.

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