Magazine article American Banker

Mid-Market Firms Rank Their Banks' Service Delivery

Magazine article American Banker

Mid-Market Firms Rank Their Banks' Service Delivery

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Kuehner-Hebert

The survival of the fittest has definitely played out among banks competing for middle-market business customers, according to more than 6,000 such companies.

The responses from 6,250 middle-market businesses about their banks - which included top tier, regionals and larger community banks - were part of a joint study due out this week from Novantas LLC in New York and the Connecticut research firm Greenwich Associates LLC.

Middle-market businesses in the survey said they were drawn to banks that more aggressively pursued customers instead of those that turned their focus inward, said Chris McDonnell, a vice president at Greenwich.

"Some banks saw opportunity in the turmoil of the markets, while others were more inwardly focused and, as such, more defensive because they may have been knocked down on their heels a little bit," McDonnell said.

He did not disclose the names of the banks that were rated higher than others, nor the names of the banks that were rated poorly.

The middle-market businesses on average said they stayed with banks that did not slash employees and maintained customer service.

"Those who had significant reductions in their work force impacted their quality and degree of account coverage because they had fewer people who were stretched thinner," McDonnell said.

Moreover, the businesses favored those banks that backed up their messages of being "safe havens," with strong service, he added. "It's quite clear the ones who were backing it up versus those who just had it in an ad campaign."

The study, titled "High Performing Banks Capitalize on Opportunities Created by the Market Disruption to Drive Growth," also gauged how well 11 top-tier and regional banks made loans and gathered deposits from middle-market businesses in the first quarter. …

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