Banks are not focusing enough attention on small businesses, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates. Small businesses also report a much lower satisfaction with their financial institutions than other banking customers.
Nearly 60 percent of the 6,397 respondents said their bank had not contacted them at all in 2007. For nearly a third of small firms, the study found a bank teller is the primary contact small businesses have with their financial institutions.
"Even among the small businesses with $5 to $10 million in annual sales, we find that 33 percent reported having no contact from their bank," Jeff Taylor, senior director of the banking practice at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a statement.
In terms of overall satisfaction, small businesses gave their banks an average score of 697 on a 1,000-point scale, compared to an average rating of 763 from retail bankers. The banks that received the highest scores from small businesses were Commerce Bancorp, Citizens Bank and Washington Mutual.
Not focusing enough time on small business can be detrimental to banks, according to the study. "Highly satisfied small business customers with high levels of commitment are three times more likely to make recommendations to family and friends, and conduct more business transactions versus small businesses with moderate commitment levels," Taylor said.