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Mon 3 Mar 2014 01:41 PM

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53% of Saudis trust their banks, says survey

Ernst & Young poll reveals higher trust levels in kingdom compared to global average of 44%

53% of Saudis trust their banks, says survey
Saudi money, Saudi currency, Saudi economy, Saudi finance, GCC currencies

More than half of Saudi bank customers have complete trust in their primary financial service providers, according to a global survey by Ernst & Young.

The survey interviewed 500 retail consumer banking customers in the kingdom who own at least one financial product and 32,642 retail consumer banking customers across 43 countries.

It found 53 percent of respondents cited complete trust compared to 44 percent globally.

“The highest level of trust is a clear differentiator in creating advocacy, and customer experience is a key driver of that level of trust,” Gordon Bennie, MENA Financial Services Leader, EY, said.

“The improved sentiment in KSA will help financial institutions as they work to solidify and expand relationships with their customers. Although confidence is high, customers are on the move, with unprecedented access to competing banks and to new types of financial services providers. Banks must earn the highest levels of trust in order to retain customers, win more business and create genuine loyalty.”

The study showed that Saudi customers placed most emphasis and importance in areas such as protecting financial information, keeping personal information safe and reputation. Convenience, particularly the importance of excellent mobile banking features and easy access to branches and ATMs, was the second most important element.

Respondents said they were most likely to rely on recommendations from friends and relatives when choosing their preferred lender, as well as bank websites and information from bank employees.

The survey found Saudi customers put a much larger emphasis on pricing and cost compared to their global counterparts, citing “finds ways to save you money”, “allows you to choose from different pricing options” and “offers low cost banking options” as important engagement opportunities with their PFSPs.

The study also showed that Saudi customers were more active in opening and closing accounts with their different providers than their global counterparts, with 66 percent of customers in KSA opening and closing accounts/services in the past year and 63 percent intending to do so in the coming year. This compared to 52 percent and 40 percent respectively globally.

“Due to the nature of customers in KSA actively exploring and pursuing their options, financial services providers need to retain their customers by adapting their services to match the competition entering and penetrating the existing marketplace,” Fahad Altoaimi, Office Managing Partner, EY Riyadh, said.

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