For the first time, the Banking Supervision Department publishes the findings of a survey on merchants’ satisfaction with the services provided to them by the banks

Presentation - main finadings ​​

  • The survey, which was conducted for the first time among the self-employed[1] and the owners of small[2] and microbusinesses[3] (hereinafter – merchants) reflects their satisfaction with the service provided to them by the banks where they manage their accounts.
  • The overall picture provided by the survey indicates that the merchants are reasonably satisfied with their treatment by the banks.
  • The findings show that overall satisfaction, willingness to recommend the bank, and satisfaction with the service at the branches are higher at the midsized banks than at the large banks.  In addition, most merchants are satisfied with the professional level of the banker providing them with service.
  • The survey also shows that merchants’ satisfaction with digital services—the bank’s website and mobile application—is very high.  This is similar to households’ level of satisfaction with the banks’ digital services.

 

Supervisor of Banks Dr. Hedva Ber said, “The Banking Supervision Department’s goal in carrying out the satisfaction survey and publishing its results is to increase competition between the banks over improved service to merchants.  We attribute great importance to the banks providing quality service that is efficient and advanced to their customers in general, and to the self-employed and small and microbusiness owners among them.”

 

The Banking Supervision Department at the Bank of Israel emphasizes the quality of service provided to customers of the banking system, and examines the level of service in a variety of ways, including by conducting satisfaction surveys.  In the past two years, two surveys have been conducted to examine the satisfaction of households with service at the banks, and a similar survey is now being published for the first time regarding satisfaction among merchants.

 

With the aim of examining merchants’ satisfaction with the quality of service they currently receive from their main bank[4], the Banking Supervision Department conducted the satisfaction survey to include the five major banks[5]: Hapoalim, Leumi, Mizrahi-Tefahot, Discount, and First International.  The survey was conducted in August–September 2019.

 


 

The main findings (more details are provided in the presentation attached to this notice):

 

·         The overall picture provided by the survey indicates that the merchants are reasonably satisfied with their treatment by the banks where their main business account is managed.

There is some variance that can be distinguished between the banks. In general, overall satisfaction, willingness to recommend the bank, and satisfaction with the service at the branches are higher at the midsized banks than at the large banks.  The survey also shows that merchants’ satisfaction with digital services is very high. 

 

Overall satisfaction:

 

Sixty-six percent of merchants who responded to the survey noted that they are satisfied with the management of their account at their bank.

The main reasons for their satisfaction are: good service, personal relationship, telephone availability, a convenient mobile application, and account management via the bank’s website.

The main reasons for dissatisfaction are: fees, a lack of personal relationship, service that is not sufficiently good, problems with availability or access, and problems with telephone availability.

 

Merchants’ willingness to recommend their bank:

 

Fifty-four percent of merchants who responded to the survey would recommend that a friend or relative manage their business account at the bank where they manage theirs.

 

Satisfaction with the level of service at the branch[6]:

 

Forty-six percent of merchants who responded to the survey reported that they visited their bank branch in the three months preceding the survey in order to obtain service from a banker.

 

About 68 percent of those who had visited the branch in the preceding three months were satisfied with the level of service at the branch.

 

Satisfaction with the bank’s website[7]:

 

About 87 percent of merchants who responded to the survey, and who had visited the bank’s website during the three months preceding the survey, were satisfied with the service offered on the bank’s website.

 

Satisfaction with the bank’s mobile application[8]:

 

About 89 percent of merchants who responded to the survey, and who had used the bank’s mobile application in the three months preceding the survey, were satisfied with the level of service offered on the application.

 

Satisfaction in various other areas[9]:

 

About 70 percent of merchants who responded to the survey were satisfied with the level of service from operational means of depositing cash or checks (ATM machines, designated ATMs for businesses, message files, and so forth) offered to them by the bank.

 

About 67 percent of merchants who responded to the survey were satisfied with the level of professionalism of their business banker.

 

About 33 percent of merchants who responded to the survey agreed that the banker provides them with a good level of guidance in making financial decisions for the business.

 

About 15 percent of merchants who responded to the survey agree that their bank provides tools for the advancement and growth of the business (such as professional development courses, conference, business guidance, and so forth).

 

The findings of the survey were presented to the relevant people at the banks, with the aim of showing them how merchants feel, and in order for them to derive necessary lessons.  The Banking Supervision Department will continue to monitor and make sure that improvements are made in the area of service.

 

 

Attached:

Appendix A – The survey’s methodology

Appendix B – Findings of the survey

 


 

Appendix A – The Survey’s Methodology

 

The survey was carried out by the Ruschinek Research Institute.

 

In order to meet the purpose of the study, 2,116 interviews were carried out over the Internet in the first stage, comprising a representative random national sample of self-employed individuals (who do not employ others), microbusiness owners (who employ 1–4 people) and small business owners (who employ 5–19 people) who are connected to the Internet.

 

Among all respondents, 1,951 reported that their sole or main business account is currently managed at one of the following five banks: Hapoalim, Leumi, Discount, Mizrah-Tefahot, or First International.

 

This study used an Internet sampling, which is preferable to a phone sampling or a face-to-face sampling.  With a phone sampling or a face-to-face sampling, there is greater concern that the interviewer may be misled due to the interviewee’s wish to satisfy the interviewer, or out of concern that the responses not harm the interviewee. (For instance, it is possible that interviewees may avoid expressing criticism of the quality of the service they receive at their branch because, either consciously or subconsciously, they are worried that their criticism may damage their commercial conditions.)

 

In addition, refusal rates in phone surveys in Israel are relatively high, so there is concern that the representative nature of the sample may be negatively affected.  It should be noted that in older age groups or conservative population groups, there is only partial Internet connectivity.  Still, most of the study’s population is connected to the Internet, so this is the optimal method of collection in this case.

 

Among those who responded to the survey, the distribution of the number of employees in the business is as follows: 56 percent are self-employed (there are no employees other than them); 32 percent have 1–4 employees; 7 percent have 5–9 employees; and 5 percent have 10–19 employees.

 

It should be noted that the distribution of merchants who responded to the survey (self-employed, microbusiness or small business) is almost identical to their share of the population according to the Central Bureau of Statistics Statistical Abstract.

 

In order to enhance the reliability of the findings, random time deviations (a specific day on which the general consumer mood is unusual, the effects of campaigns by the banks, and so forth) were neutralized by splitting the sample into four subsamples who were surveyed about a week apart from each other.  Data were collected between August 8 and September 5, 2019.  The sample’s maximum margin of error, in a sample of 2000 respondents, is about 2.2 percent.

 

Furthermore, a filter question was used to ensure that only the business owner or authorized signatory on the business account was interviewed.

 

The questionnaire’s introduction was structured so that respondents could not know who was behind the survey, in order to prevent misleading the interviewer.

 

The interviewer may be misled in three main situations: when the respondent consciously or subconsciously wants to impress the interviewer; when the responded consciously or subconsciously wants to fulfill the interviewer’s expectations; when the respondent is consciously or subconsciously concerned about answering honestly, that the information will be transmitted to outside parties, causing him damage.  Therefore, there is no mention of the Bank of Israel in the introduction to the questionnaire, and there is also text that legitimizes a wide range of answers.



[1] Self-employed – does not employ other workers.

[2] Small business – employs 5–19 employees.

[3] Microbusiness – employs 1–4 employees.

[4] The bank hosting the business account in which most current account activities are conducted, including the transfer of the business’s income and the payment of its expenses.

[5] About 92 percent of merchants reported in this survey that their sole or main business account is currently managed at one of these five banks.

[6] This percentage reflects those who chose the answer “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied”.

[7] This percentage reflects those who chose the answer “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied”.

[8] This percentage reflects those who chose the answer “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied”.

[9] This percentage reflects those who chose the answer “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied”.