BUSINESS NEWS - While there has been a slight improvement in sentiment towards the country’s major banks on social media, nearly half of “priority conversations … which require the banks’ attention and action … have gone unanswered” in the last year.
This is according to BrandsEye, which tracked 2.5 million consumer social media posts (on Twitter and Facebook) about African Bank, Absa, Capitec, Discovery Bank, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank from September 2019 to August 2020.
This is the fifth year BrandsEye has produced its annual South African Banking Sentiment Index. It says “this year’s index pays particular attention to the market conduct performance of South African banks”.
“This focus stems from new outcomes-focused regulations that banks must now adhere to and the influx of customer service requests and complaints on social media.”
Overall sentiment is still negative, but improved by 0.9 percentage points to -12.4%. The main reason for this, according to BrandsEye, is improvements in both FNB and Standard Bank’s scores.
African Bank achieved the highest net sentiment, and according to the study received almost four times as many sales enquiries (for loans) from customers than the average for the industry.
Capitec Bank is the incumbent bank with the highest net sentiment. It has held either first or second position since BrandsEye began producing the index.
It says this “consistent performance … remains driven by the bank’s affordability”.
However, in 2020, Capitec experienced net negative sentiment for the first time. This decline was due to “unreliability of the bank’s app”.
“Customers cited issues around purchasing airtime, data and electricity through third-party companies as well as instances of system downtime. In a year where digital channels grew in significance, this shortcoming was amplified by customers who were even more reliant on the app.”
Nedbank suffered a 32.9 percentage point decline in 2020 because of the fact that its score was boosted by its partnership with Global Citizen in 2018/2019.
The normalised score last year was -8.1%, if the conversation about Global Citizen was excluded. But the bank still saw a decline in sentiment to -12.5% this year.
The worst performer in the industry was Discovery Bank which has faced operational issues since its launch.