Big banks unlikely to lose customers

It's unlikely that Bank of America will lose much of its customer satisfaction and loyalty despite reports that it's planning to shut down some of its locations, Smart Money reports.

It's unlikely that Bank of America will lose much of its customer satisfaction and loyalty despite reports that it's planning to shut down some of its locations, Smart Money reports.

This is because - excluding major events such as job relocation or marriage - a mere 5 to 7 percent of a bank's customer base moves each year.

And while the recent Bank Transfer Day - an initiative designed to convert big-bank customers to smaller financial institutions and credit unions (CUs) - was a moderate success, membership at CUs grew by just one-third of what was originally projected.

Two main reasons customers stay loyal? Fear of change and the perception that changing banks is a difficult task.

While many bank customers may be fed up with fees and problems at their current location, there's no guarantee the same issues won't present themselves at a small institution.

Plus, while it's no secret that changing banks won't happen overnight - Reuters notes customers must open up a new account, move funds over, change direct-deposit instructions, etc. - most major changes can be done in "within a day or so," says Joe Gillen, CEO of consulting firm Pinnacle Financial Strategies, as quoted by Smart Money.